The latest chapter in the deceptive narrative of our growing involvement in the Middle East involves President Obama's trip on 4/20 to the Saudi capital of Riyadh for a summit of Gulf states fighting ISIS, followed a few days later by his announcement in London that he would authorize an increase in U.S. troops in Syria. Leading up to this trip, in what appear strategic feints at candor, the media delivered a series of startling revelations about Saudi Arabia and its relationship with the U.S. Over the past week we learned from 60 Minutes that the Saudi's were likely involved in 9/11, and that this information is contained and classified in 28 pages from the official 9/11 report that the President has fought to keep classified, and we learned from reviews of Pulitzer Prize winner Dexter Filkins' new book, The Forever War, that the Saudi's knew where Osama bin Laden was hiding for many months before the U.S. did and assisted Pakistan in concealing the information from the U.S.
The seeming legitimacy of these revelations frees me from my usual sense that I need to inform people of subtle things they've missed, although there is one aspect of what is happening that is currently left out of the news: the perception throughout the Middle East (and reported but not noticed in the U.S.) that Saudi Arabia (like Russia) is our ally in a U.S. led coalition, ostensibly to fight ISIS but involved in quite a lot of other things as well. The Saudi's have distinguished themselves in our coalition by massacring Houthi civilians in Yemen, bombing, among other sites, a Doctor's Without Borders hospital in January (two months after the U.S. bombed one in Afghanistan). What is a Houthi? You'll be lucky to find anyone outside a D.C. think tank who knows, or who might have the slightest idea why we would be a close ally of a country that bombs Houthi hospitals. But it is in our handlers' interest now to turn America's attention to its disagreements with Saudi Arabia, so that we will not notice that Middle East populations perceive Saudi Arabia to be our partner just as it establishes itself as an evil bad guy in the region. What is the purpose of this double game? In my view it is to promote the war that elements in our leadership (including the President) desire (for further exploration of this idea see the next two essays on this blog: Our news is as manipulated as Russia's and Applied Amnesia).
And just as the screenwriters of our coming war do not want anyone to notice our close alliance with Saudi Arabia, they divert our attention from another extremely violent partner in our coalition, Russia, which it turns out, like Saudi Arabia, "doesn't share our values," by which we seem to mean our professed values (see Airwars at http://airwars.org/data/). Russia bombs civilian targets in Syria with no apparent relevance to fighting ISIS, unless the goal is to enhance the fierceness of the enemy.
All it takes is one Russian jet to buzz a U.S. warship and the American people, like the audience of a cruise ship hypnotist, are mesmerized, chanting together: We are not like them...we are not like them....
Update, 4/21: Saudi King Salman did not greet President Obama when he arrived in Riyadh as he had other world leaders, a seeming snub, but it was reported later that Obama and the King had a two hour meeting which "cleared the air," with much nodding and smiling for the cameras. Thus both policy ends were met: the need for Americans to see a rift between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia so there will be no American guilt at the Saudi open season on Yemeni civilians, plus a display of solidarity between the two countries to show people in the Middle East the other view, that we are part of the Saudi depredations. In February U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry did a similar balancing act with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in the wake of Russian attacks on Syrian civilians (see below, Applied Amnesia). The point of this strategy is to attain a basic ingredient for the war our leaders have in mind: each side must be seething with hatred and fear of the other.
Updates: 4/26, U.N. envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura said a partial truce agreed to in February was "barely alive", and he called on Russia and the U.S. to "intervene at the 'highest level' to save the struggling peace talks" (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-36156865). The next day, 4/27, Russia bombed a Doctors Without Borders Syrian hospital, "killing at least 14 patients and staff" (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-36158947). Americans will have forgotten the incident, if they noticed it in the first place, by tomorrow so that we and our ally Russia can present ourselves as the saviors of Syria. To see how we arrived at this point, read Our news is as manipulated as Russia's and Applied Amnesia below.