G20 meets in Turkey today – but will Saudi and Turkish (and EU) support for ISIS be confronted?

The agenda of the G20 meeting starting in Turkey today will be dominated by Paris – and so it should.

The G20 is made up of 19 countries and the EU: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union.

129 people died in Paris on Friday night and another 90 are still in critical condition. At least two of the terrorists had posed as refugees passing through Turkey and Greece just about a month ago. One more has now been identified as a known, 29 year old, “radicalised” French citizen.

The G20 is intended primarily as an economic forum, but Paris and Syria and ISIS can be expected to dominate. But I am not sure that any discussions about ISIS will be open enough or sufficiently meaningful in addressing root causes. To do that the agenda would have to include,

  1. the tacit support for ISIS from Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and
  2. the funding and growth of ISIS caused by the EU and US support of anti-Assad  rebels, and
  3. the misguided “multiculturalism” in the EU which – among other things – allows Saudi funded, radicalising mosques and madrassas all across Europe, and
  4. the EU “soft” policies which have now probably allowed at least hundreds of terrorists to be sneaked into Europe as “refugees”.

Both Saudi Arabia and Turkey are members of the G20, but their support for ISIS, not officially perhaps, but indirectly and by inaction and by default, will not, I think, be confronted directly. Turkey is a Nato member and is “protected” from criticism of its excesses. Criticism of Saudi Arabia is always muted from those countries dependent on oil imports or defence exports.

A great deal of ISIS financing is from private Saudi sources but surely not without the knowledge of the Saudi authorities. The official Saudi support is ostensibly for groups of Sunni rebels who are opposed to Assad and who are also said to be opposed – sometimes very mildly – to ISIS. Moreover some of these groups are no more than conduits to ISIS and al Qaida. Saudi Arabia’s primary aim seems to be to support anti-Shia groups and opposition to ISIS is only secondary. If ISIS was the only Sunni group available to oppose the Shia forces then Saudi Arabia would make sure they were supported.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other Sunni Gulf States, all want the Shia to be wiped off the face of the Earth and if that means supporting the murderous psychopaths of ISIS – well, the end justifies the means.

In the case of Turkey, it is also an overwhelming desire to prevent any Kurdish state which rules their actions. Turkish hatred of a Kurdistan is on a par with the Saudi hatred of the Shia. They are also against terrorism, provided that the Kurds are first defined as terrorists. And ISIS, as an enemy of their Kurdish enemies, is often their friend. Turkey sees Kurdish successes in Northern Iraq and parts of Syria as ominous and are quite happy to bomb Kurds in or close to Turkey, even if it helps ISIS to gain territory.

Greater Kurdistan dreams map from Jon Davis via Quora

Greater Kurdistan dreams map from Jon Davis via Quora

Turkey will not take actions against ISIS if there is any chance that Kurds may gain an advantage.

I don’t expect the G20 meeting to get more than empty statements from Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Obama will order a few more air strikes. The EU is now a dithering and fractured entity. In fact the EU is now part of the problem and European countries (France, UK, Germany …) will need to act independently to oppose and attack the growth of ISIS. The G20 meeting in Antalya will get no commitments

  1. from Turkey to attack ISIS even if it helps the Kurds, or
  2. from Saudi Arabia to shut off all private funding for ISIS, or
  3. even to withdraw official Saudi support from Sunni groups who “leak” funds to ISIS, or
  4. from the EU to stop the funding from the Middle East of radicalising mosques and madrassas in Europe, or
  5. from the EU to winnow out the terrorists and criminals from among the influx of “refugees”

Sunni Muslims across the world need to pay more than lip-service to opposing the barbarism of ISIS. The Shia are already opposed to all things Sunni. But far too many Sunnis – by inaction – allow their own fanatics to prosper. They allow their fanatic imams to continue preaching their brand of hatred. They turn a blind eye to their radicalised sons and daughters. They too harbour dreams of the establishment of a new Islamic (Sunni, of course) Caliphate and have secret sympathies for the objectives of those “fighting” or murdering for this dream.

I am afraid that Sunnis anywhere (and for me that means all over Europe and the Middle East, Africa and even India, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia) who do not declare themselves – by word and action – to be against the Islamic Caliphate must be taken to be supporters of, and sympathisers with, ISIS.

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