Smoking gun: Saudis running jihadists in Syria

By F. Michael Maloof

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WASHINGTON – A captured member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claims that the ISIL and other Islamic militant groups in Syria not only are supported by a member of the Saudi royal family but that individual actually heads the ISIL.

In a video admission, a captured member of the ISIL said the radical Islamic group actually is led by Prince Adbul Rahman al-Faisal, the son of the late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and the brother of the current Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal.

The revelation suggests a high level of direct involvement by the Saudi royal family in terrorist activities not only in Syria but in other locations where Sunni Islamic militants are operating.

The captured ISIL jihadist said his group was monitoring the movements of the Free Syrian Army, which forms the main opposition to the Shiite-Alawite government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which is allied with Shia Iran.

This revelation suggests the Saudi leadership is directly funding the Islamic militant groups, which have basically taken over the opposition forces, since the FSA isn’t regarded as being capable of ousting Assad.

The ISIL captive said he was under orders to do so “from the leadership of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.”

Asked who in the leadership of the ISIL gave him the orders, the captured jihadist said without hesitation, “Prince Abdul Rahman al-Faisal, who is also known as Abu Faisal.”

ISIL, also known as ISIS, is the al-Qaida branch in Iraq and Syria. Its battlefield commander is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is considered to be ruthless and has been attacking other Islamic militant groups that he believes aren’t as strict as his.

As WND recently reported, the development has prompted al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to repudiate Baghdadi’s ruthlessness and his desire to bring in another al-Qaida-affiliated group, the Jabhat al-Nusra, under his wing.

In turn, Baghdadi has become openly defiant of Zawahiri.

The revelation that high levels of the House of Saud are behind the Islamic militant groups in Syria and elsewhere comes as President Barack Obama prepares to visit Saudi Arabia in March in an effort to smooth out U.S.-Saudi relations strained over the U.S. stance on Syria and Iran.

The Saudis turned on the U.S. after Obama decided not to take military action against Syria’s chemical weapons in an effort to oust Assad. In addition, Obama decided to press forward with negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, which the West and Israel believe is a cover for the development of nuclear weapons.

The Saudis, in effect, felt betrayed and decided on the basis of the U.S. approach to Syria and Iran to undertake an independent foreign policy aimed at changing the Syrian leadership and halting Iran’s entire nuclear program.

The move led to Saudi Prince Bandar bin Saud’s financing and provision of weapons to Islamic militant groups. Many are direct affiliates of al-Qaida, not only in Syria but in areas spanning from Central Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, North Africa and the Maghreb.

Bandar is the Saudi intelligence chief and heads the Saudi National Security Council.

The extent to which Obama can convince the Saudis to halt their support for the Sunni Islamic groups, including al-Qaida itself, is questionable, since the jihadists have vowed to attack U.S. interests and ultimately the U.S. homeland.

According to U.S. intelligence, more than 50 Americans are fighting in Syria on the side of al-Qaida and the other Islamic radical groups. The concern is that they will return to the U.S. and undertake attacks, based on their experiences on the Syrian battlefield.

The potential threats against U.S. interests, with much of it paid for and supplied by the Saudi royal family, will put the spotlight on what Obama can accomplish in his visit to Riyadh next month.

Prince Abdul Rahman al-Faisal is a graduate of the Sandhurst military academy in Great Britain. In addition to being the brother of the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, he also is the brother of Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, who was the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. and the Great Britain and for years was head of Saudi intelligence. He also was known to have a relationship with the late al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Obama’s relationship with Saudi Arabian officials started out in 2009 on a far different note.

WND reported when he greeted the king of  Saudi Arabia with a full bow from the waist, a move one commentator described as a violation of protocol and not worthy of the office he holds.

“I am quite certain that this is not the protocol and is most unbecoming a president of the United States,” wrote Clarice Feldman in an American Thinker commentary.

The situation developed as leaders of the world attended the G20 summit in London.

In one image, after the king extended his hand while Obama approached, Obama bends from the waist until his head is nearly at the monarch’s waist:

President Obama’s bow to Saudi king

In a second image, Obama has straightened up and is exchanging remarks with the Saudi leader:

Obama speaks briefly with Saudi king after bowing

The action appeared especially awkward since among the dozens of world leaders and their spouses, handshakes abounded, but there appeared to be no other bowing in the room.

The U.S. State Department’s office of protocol, in a statement attributed to acting chief of protocol Gladys Blouda, confirmed the type of greeting between heads of state depends on the customs of the countries, but a handshake is the most common form of greeting.

The traditional Miss Manners book of etiquette advises: “One does not bow or curtsy to a foreign monarch because the gesture symbolizes recognition of her power over her subjects.”

Jamie Glazov, author of “United in Hate,” said Obama’s act actually was to be expected.

“And people don’t know what’s going on here? Are we kidding?” he said at the time. “This is simply the continuation of fellow traveling. It’s to be totally expected. Leftists have prostrated themselves before despots throughout history – during the whole Cold War and now vis-à-vis jihadists in the terror war. ‘United in Hate’ crystallizes with precision how and why this dark process occurs.”

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