Readers may be aware of the story that did the conspiracist rounds last
week, according to which the FSA rebels were in a tunnel, on a mission
unwittingly carrying chemical weapons, not knowing what they were, from
the Saudis at the Jordanian border, to Al-Nusra, when they had a little
much to drink, fell over, and spilled the chemcals.
There are many holes in this story, but I just want to focus on one that
hasn’t been written about much.
The need to make up this story is obvious: the main problem with the
claim of the FSA carrying out the chemical attack was that the chemical
weapons killed their families back home while they were on the front
lines; the main problem with Al Qaida doing it was, if they have
chemicals, and little regard for human life, then funny how they haven’t
been using them liberally in the war. So the need to bring in an outside
power to supply it to Al Qaida, and the need for the FSA to not know it
was all happening (but give them the blame anyway).
The fact that Al-Qaida’s reason for existence is to overthrow the Saudi
monarchy, who they see as arch-infidels, apparently has no bearing on
people continually making such statements, and in particular on people
trying to concoct some alibi for Assad.
Saudi Arabia and Al Qaida have almost identical extremist salafist
ideologies, but that doesn’t alter the fact that they hate each others
guts like poison. Syria is nothing if not complicated, but I wish people
could at least get that right in order to not embarass themselves.
So, for several months now, Saudi Arabia has been involved in trying to
build a “national Syrian army” from Baathist defector military officers
in Jordan. The project is backed by the US, with the difference that to
date, the Saudis have actually tried to get arms to the regular FSA
inside Syria in the south (and in the last couple of months have been
more successful), in order for this puppet force building in Jordan to
try to gain some credibility, whereas the US has tried its utmost to
block any weapons at all getting across to the FSA if it can, and bugger
the need for cred, the US only intends its tools to come to power either
in a palace coup, or, if the US does attack, from the top.
Three important points about this development.
First, much of the FSA on the ground in Syria, and most of the
Islamists, are deeply suspicious of this initiative, which they
understand as an attempt to steal their efforts from above;
nevertheless, in the south the FSA has a working arrangement with it, to
the extent that some weapons can get past the US obstacles.
Second, as ex-Baathist officers, this outfit, backed by the Saudi
theocracy, is entirely secular, just like the Mubarakist military the
Saudis just heavily backed to overthrow the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
Whether moderate Islamists like the Brotherhood (much softer than the
Saudis) or extremist salafists like Al-Qaida (similar or harder than the
Saudis), one thing the Saudis hate is Islamic revolutionaries, who would
like to replace the Saudi monarchy with a clerical-influenced republic
(the Brotherhood) or a direct clerical dictatorship (Al Qaida)
Third, it has been widely discussed that part of the aim of this army,
apart from allegedly overthrowing Assad, will be to fight Al-Qaida in
Syria, like the Sunni Anbar brigades the US eventually got going in Iraq
Oh yes, Saudi Arabia wanted to supply Al-Qaida with chemical weapons. A
dead giveaway that the story was just stupid