About the So-Called Admissions by Clinton and Biden
by Stanley Heller
May 30, 2017 It's very common to read claims that the Obama Administration accidently admitted that
the Saudi government supports ISIS and al-Qaeda. The "evidence" is one leaked email and an answer to a question given by Vice President Joe Biden.
1. On that email. Here's the supposed smoking gun, these words among the Podesta emails printed by Wikileaks: "we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional
intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine
financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region." It was sent August 19, 2014. (See it below)
It's not at all clear that Hillary wrote the offending sentences. If you look on Wikileaks you see it's an email from Podesta to Clinton with nested quotes (see below). He replies to an earlier email from her. She in turn is quoting something (note the double >>) We don't know if the original is her analysis or someone else that she's quoting for purposes of discussion, agreement or for whatever reason.
Michael Isikoff made similar observations in a piece about the email in Oct. 2016. He wrote, "It's unclear if Clinton actually wrote the email herself or was simply passing along a policy paper that was written by an aide or some other source."
There's also this sentence at the end: ">> move against ISIL from the North. This will make certain Basher al Assad >> does not gain an advantage from these operations." Basher instead of "Bashar" is an odd spelling mistake for a Secretary of State, possibly a sign that this was written by someone else and being quoted.
2. I agree we have the right to know more about this. Hillary Clinton should be grilled under oath about whether she wrote this and if she did what the Saudis were actually doing. If she did not write this she should be asked who did and how credible that person is?
3. Even if she wrote it, it's very very weak "evidence". It's an email with a statement. Where's the concrete evidence, proof
of arms shipments via photos, documents, eyewitnesses, etc.? How come there's none of that?
4. Keep in mind the main country that armed ISIS was the U.S., not deliberately of course, but when ISIS conquered a huge section of Iraq it seized billions in U.S. weapons. ISIS also took hundreds of millions of dollars by going into banks in big cities like Mosul and taking the cash.
1. Former Vice President Biden spoke at Harvard on Oct. 6, 2014. Video here. The Washington Post quotes him as saying:
What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad, and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad - except that the people who were being supplied, [they] were al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda, and the extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world.
2. Note Biden doesn't say that any of these governments gave money or weapons to ISIS.
3. Biden sometimes makes errors. Even in his answer as reported by the Post he bizarrely says " ISIL, which was al-Qaeda in Iraq, when they were essentially thrown out of Iraq, found open space and territory in [eastern] Syria," Far from being out of Iraq ISIS was at its height of territorial control in Iraq in the middle of 2014.
4. It doesn't stand to reason that the Saudis would support either al-Qaeda or ISIS. Both see the Saudis
as frauds and not extreme enough and have launched terror attacks against the Saudis. In return the Saudis have executed a number of Qaeda and ISIS.
In November 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi recorded an audio message calling for an attack on Saudi Arabia. Small cross border attacks took place
from Iraq. More importantly ISIS has cells inside Saudi Arabia which commit terror atrocities against Saudi Shia's in hopes of provoking
civil sectarian war from which ISIS will profit. On May 22, 2015 ISIS attacked a Shia mosque in the village of al-Qadeeh killing 21 people.
Read this piece by Sam Charles Hamad who details a lot of this.
For its part the Saudis far from supporting al-Qaeda execute them. On the infamous day at the start of 2016 when the Shia cleric Nimr al Nimr
was executed the Saudi government also shot and beheaded "dozens" of al-Qaeda.
5. In Syria the Saudis initially helped elements of the Free Syrian Army and a (nasty) Islamist coalition called Jaish al-Islam
and more recently Muslim Brotherhood forces, not al-Nusra. Again read Hamad. [By the way Jaish al-Islam most likely disappeared
the wonderful Razan Zeitouneh and her colleagues in Dec. 2013]
6. One doesn't need to defend the honor of the Saudis, Turkey and Qatar. They undoubtedly have their Islamic dreams for Syria and they sent in weapons and for a long time Turkey's
border was quite porus, but that does not mean these governments support their rival hoodlums, al-Qaeda or ISIS. Finally, the question of outside financing of ISIS is somewhat moot, because they clearly are mostly self-financed though seizure of weapons and banks, kidnapping, slavery, taxes and until recently selling oil.
The Podesta Email
*From*: John Podesta [mailto:email@example.com]
*Sent*: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 09:19 AM
*Subject*: Re: Here's what I mentioned
Hit send too soon. Meant to say Syria elements are vexing.
On Aug 19, 2014 9:17 AM, "John Podesta" wrote:
> I think we are headed down this path in Iraq, but the Syria elements are
> On Aug 17, 2014 3:50 PM, "H" wrote:
>> Note: Sources include Western intelligence, US intelligence and sources
>> in the region.
>> 1. With all of its tragic aspects, the advance of ISIL
>> through Iraq gives the U.S. Government an opportunity to change the way it
>> deals with the chaotic security situation in North Africa and the Middle
>> East. The most important factor in this matter is to make use of
>> intelligence resources and Special Operations troops in an aggressive
>> manner, while avoiding the old school solution, which calls for more
>> traditional military operations.
……. [omitting parts, see complete email at Wikileaks
>> 4. Armed with proper equipment, and working with U.S. advisors, the
>> Peshmerga can attack the ISIL with a coordinated assault supported from the
>> air. This effort will come as a surprise to the ISIL, whose leaders
>> believe we will always stop with targeted bombing, and weaken them both in
>> Iraq and inside of Syria. At the same time we should return to plans to
>> provide the FSA, or some group of moderate forces, with equipment that will
>> allow them to deal with a weakened ISIL, and stepped up operations against
>> the Syrian regime. This entire effort should be done with a low profile,
>> avoiding the massive traditional military operations that are at best
>> temporary solutions. While this military/para-military operation is moving
>> forward, we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence
>> assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia,
>> which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and
>> other radical Sunni groups in the region
…[again omitting some irrelevant sentences and putting the misspelling of Bashar in boldface]
>> move against ISIL from the North. This will make certain Basher al Assad
>> does not gain an advantage from these operations. Finally, as it now
>> appears the U.S. is considering a plan to offer contractors as advisors to
>> the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, we will be in a position to coordinate more
>> effectively between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army.)
Joe Biden after a speech at Harvard, 2014 answered this question
Question: In retrospect do you believe the United States should have acted earlier in Syria, and if not why is now the right moment?
Biden: The answer is 'no' for 2 reasons. One, the idea of identifying a moderate middle has been a chase America has been engaged in for a long time. We Americans think in every country in transition there is a Thomas Jefferson hiding beside some rock - or a James Madison beyond one sand dune. The fact of the matter is the ability to identify a moderate middle in Syria was - there was no moderate middle because the moderate middle are made up of shopkeepers, not soldiers - they are made up of people who in fact have ordinary elements of the middle class of that country. And what happened was - and history will record this because I'm finding that former administration officials, as soon as they leave write books which I think is inappropriate, but anyway, (laughs) no I'm serious - I do think it's inappropriate at least , you know, give the guy a chance to get out of office. And what my constant cry was that our biggest problem is our allies - our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends - and I have the greatest relationship with Erdogan, which I just spent a lot of time with - the Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad except that the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world. Now you think I'm exaggerating - take a look. Where did all of this go? So now what's happening? All of a sudden everybody's awakened because this outfit called ISIL which was Al Qaeda in Iraq, which when they were essentially thrown out of Iraq, found open space in territory in eastern Syria, work with Al Nusra who we declared a terrorist group early on and we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them. So what happened? Now all of a sudden - I don't want to be too facetious - but they had seen the Lord. Now we have - the President's been able to put together a coalition of our Sunni neighbors, because America can't once again go into a Muslim nation and be seen as the aggressor - it has to be led by Sunnis to go and attack a Sunni organization. So what do we have for the first time?
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