Riadh Sidaoui, political scientist and director of the Arab Center for Political and Social Research and Analysis (Caraps), looks back on the terrorist scourge which has been hitting different countries around the world for some time now.
You still accuse certain Gulf countries of being behind global terrorism. What are the arguments on which you base yourself to assert this?
We have ample evidence that there are Gulf states, even Gulf businessmen, who fund these terrorist movements. Among this evidence is the words of Joe Biden, the American vice-president, who, in front of students and professors at Harvard University in the United States of America, openly declared: “These are our Turkish friends. , Saudis, Qatari and Emiratis who financed and helped Daesh ”.
Ditto for the former head of the French DST (Directorate of Territorial Surveillance), Yves Bonnet, who questioned, on October 8, 2012, the money of Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the financing of Islamist networks radicals. Indeed, in an interview published by “La Dépêche du Midi”, Mr. Bonnet declared: “We dare not talk about Saudi Arabia and Qatar, but perhaps these good people should also stop talking about it. ‘to feed their funds a certain number of worrying actions’.
The “WikiLeaks” site also published thousands of emails attributed to campaign manager Hillary Clinton. In one, dated 2014, the former US secretary of state writes in black and white that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding ISIS.
Bernard Squarcini, former head of French internal intelligence, in turn revealed, 2 years ago, that “Saudi Arabia was financing terrorism in Syria and Algeria”! According to him, the jihadist groups which had pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda “were financed mainly by the Saudi prince Bandar Ben Sultan (secretary general of the National Security Council and head of general intelligence of Saudi Arabia) who adopted an independent regional policy of his brothers and his cousins ”. Bernard Squarcini assured, in his latest book, that “Bandar Ben Sultan, Saudi intelligence chief, was behind the funding of jihadist groups in Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, northern Africa”, “the Qatar, France’s major commercial and political partner, was interested in financing, and even arming, Islamist groups fighting in Africa against the French army ”.
This without forgetting, of course, the courageous words of Lotfi Ben Jeddou, former Tunisian interior minister, who told the Algerian daily El-Khabar that businessmen from Gulf countries are financing terrorism in Tunisia.
What is the interest of these Gulf countries in financing Daesh and provoking attacks in Europe (the Nice attack and the Berlin attack)?
Of course, these countries have financed Daesh, but here we have to put things in perspective. Indeed, in my last book “The Autumn of Arab Blood: The Secrets of Daesh and Sisters”, I developed a theory which states the existence of two Daesh. The first Daesh is, therefore, the one we know, which is established in certain regions in Iraq and Syria. As for the second Daesh, it is characterized rather by local terrorist cells, sometimes lone wolves (of different nationalities), who are fascinated by the literature and the radical ideology of Daesh, and who take action without necessarily having any direct link with this terrorist organization.
Coming back to the Berlin attack, for example, I don’t think it was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who texted this young Tunisian from Oueslatia [Anis Amri] to order him to carry out the attack.
That said, I am sorry that we only see the dozens or hundreds of Europeans killed by Daesh (I am, of course, in solidarity with their families, their countries, and their peoples), while we often forget the 300,000 killed in Syria, the million killed in Iraq, etc. I’m sorry, but for me the value of human life is the same whether it is in France, Germany, Iraq, or Tunisia. The attacks taking place in Europe are a sort of collateral damage to what is happening in Syria and Iraq.
What do you think of the return of Tunisian terrorists from conflict zones?
In my opinion, the majority of these Tunisian terrorists will be killed on the spot. For the others, they will go through Libya with the complicity of those who sent them, namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. They will be transported to Libya. Some will stay to fight in Libya, while others will try to cross the border illegally. That is why we must immediately re-establish diplomatic relations, and in particular security relations with Syria. We need the databases of the Syrian intelligence services concerning these Tunisians.
by Slim MESTIRI
Tunis Hebdo on 2/1/2017