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The US, the Dollar, IS and Saudi Arabia

by Ernst Wolff Thursday, Apr. 05, 2018 at 10:34 AM

The US treats IS and the Saudi royal house differently. For decades, Saudi Arabia has been the US' closest ally in the Middle East and therefore enjoys Washington's unrestricted solidarity despite all its crimes.


The suspended travel ban for Islamic countries but not for Saudi Arabia reflects national power interests of the US

By Ernst Wolff

[This article published on February 6, 2017, is translated from the German on the Internet,]

Like his predecessor Obama, US President Trump declared the destruction of the Islamic State (IS) his most urgent challenge. The members of the terror organization must be "wiped out" and disappeared from the face of the earth. "Their crimes are so grave that even the use of torture against them is justified."

Like Obama, President Trump did not say a single word against the ruling house in Saudi Arabia either in the election campaign or since his assumption of office even though its systemic human rights violations could be compared with those of IS. Under the regime of the house of Saud, the amputation of limbs, heads, hanging and stoning as punishments for crimes against the fundamental laws of Sharia are the order of the day.

The US treats IS and the Saudi royal house differently. For decades, Saudi Arabia has been the US' closest ally in the Middle East and therefore enjoys Washington's unrestricted solidarity despite all its crimes.

Besides the double morality hidden behind this policy, the fact that IS and Saudi Arabia have a crucial common interest outside their religious fanaticism and contempt for human rights. Both would not be what they are without the collaboration of the US. In addition, a revealing interrelation exists between the two.

Saudi Arabia – the most important international support of the US dollar

Saudi Arabia founded in 1932 is one of the most important allies of the US on account of its gigantic oil reserves. Since the middle of the 1970s, Saudi Arabia has been one of the cornerstones of the global financial system ruled by the US dollar.

The role of the US dollar as the No. 1 world currency was endangered after the repeal of the dollar's bond to gold in 1971 and the end of the fixed exchange rate in 1973. Since the Bretton Woods conference (1944), the dollar's status as the key currency was enforced to the last corners of the earth. But its uncoupling from its fixed value – gold – made it into a "fiat currency" (an uncovered currency) and a hardly calculable risk for the global financial system.

To end this situation, the US in the middle of the 1970s concluded a historic agreement with Saudi Arabia. Its ruling house was obligated by the US to guarantee that crude oil – the most traded commodity worldwide – would only be traded in US dollars (the so-called "petro" dollar) within OPEC (Organization of Oil Exporting Countries). In addition, its dollar surpluses would be invested in the US. In a countermove, the US guaranteed the ruling house of Saud protection from its enemies (particularly Israel, Syria, and Iran abroad and its own subjects at home) and nearly unlimited weapon deliveries.

This was a lucrative deal in three regards for the financial elite of the US. Firstly, the bond of oil to the US dollar ensured that the important role of global reserve currency came to the dollar alongside its role as the key global currency. Since all countries of the earth depend on oil as a source of energy, nearly all countries must have adequate dollar reserves. Secondly, the Saudi purchases of government bonds washed up trillions in the US state treasury that could be used to wage further wars (for example in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Syria, and Yemen). Thirdly, the US arms industry obtained the most solvent permanent customer through the pact.

The deal is also rewarding for the ruling house of Saud. Armed to the teeth and with the earth's strongest military power at its back, it could pile up unspeakable riches undisturbed with the exploitation of nine million underpaid foreign workers living under catastrophic conditions and simultaneously and violently nip in the bud every rebellion against its own medieval rule.

Thus, the connection between the US and Saudi Arabia has two winners: the financial elite of the US and the ruling house of the most backward absolute monarchy on earth.

IS arose with the help of the US

IS, also known as ISIS (Islamic State in Syria) is not simply a consequence of a civil war in Syria that is out of control. IS is essentially the product of an attempted regime change in Damascus promoted by the US. Its history began with inner conflicts in Syria but these would have long petered out without the interventions of the US and its allies.

The Syrian Assad regime has long been a thorn in the eye of the US. As an ally of Iran and the Hezbollah movement and because of its political nearness to Russia and China, the Assad regime stands in the way of the permanent subjugation of the oil-rich Middle East under the geo-strategic interests of the US including building pipelines. For this reason, Washington has long sought the overthrow of its political leadership.

The US follows its strategy of destabilization tried and tested for more than a century and does everything in its power to damage the present regime as long as the goal of installing a pro-Western regime in Damascus is not reached. This includes promoting all the forces fighting President Assad.

The political backgrounds of the radical Islamic groups supporting them are rather indifferent to the US. So they support groups like Al Nusra and ISIS founded in Iraq in their struggle against Assad. At the beginning of its activities, ISIS recruited mainly from members of Al Qaida – the organization blamed in Washington for the attacks of September 11.

The double game played by the US in Syria has a background that leads to its most important ally Saudi Arabia. The war began by the Soviet Union in 1979 to support one of its well-disposed regimes in Afghanistan led to radical-Islamic forces (Mudschaheddin and Afghanistan's Islamic brigades) forming against the Russian invaders. The US took up this resistance with the help of the CIA and supported the formation of Al Qaida that emerged out of these radical-Islamic forces at that time. A Saudi Arabian property developer worth billions named Osama bin Laden was a leader of Al Qaida and an ally of the US for years.

The Real Reason for the Double Game: Money, Power and the Global Financial System

Seeking ideological or even moral reasons for the policy of the US and its allies in the Middle East is not worth the trouble. Money, oil, and geopolitical power are central to Washington in choosing between alliances and antagonisms.

A special role comes to the big media that follows the (often inconsistent) course of the US government. For example, it is striking that there is only rare reporting about the inhumanity and cruelty of the ruling house, only sparse news about the war against the neighboring state Yemen and facts like that 15 of the 18 terrorists in the attacks on the World Trade Center were Saudi Arabian citizens are passed over.

The latest evidence for Saudi Arabia's special treatment is that Donald Trump exempted Saudi Arabia in the entry prohibition for members of Muslim states.

The entry prohibition for persons from seven poor Muslim countries prepares the ground for such attitudes and does not prevent any attacks. The war policy in the Middle East will also be justified in the future with the attacks.

Ernst Wolff is a free journalist and author of the book "World Power IMF – Chronicle of a Predatory Attack."

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