Will US Policy Shift Towards Jihadist Countries?
The presidential victory of Joe Biden — contested by the incumbent Donald Trump — is expected to alter U.S. policy in the Middle East. The question remains, with respect to political Islam, how far will any reassessment go, specifically with the jihadist countries of Saudi Arabia and Turkey?
In what is perceived to be the end of a catering by the Trump administration to international thugs of the Islamic world, Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz recently spoke with President Erdoğan in an effort to reconcile their differences in order to thwart off any potential conflicts against the incoming Biden administration.
Having enjoyed a lot of leeway from Donald Trump during his presidency, both Saudi Arabia and Turkey have avoided sanctions for everything from the murder of a Saudi dissident to Turkey’s purchase of a Russian air defense missile system. They now both fear facing the prospect of a tougher time with the next U.S. administration.
Favors Towards Saudi Arabia
The U.S., especially under the Trump administration, has been a vital support to Saudi Arabia’s ongoing crimes against humanity and inhumane policies, such as its:
- support in genocidal war in Yemen — this began under the Obama administration in 2015;
- cover-up for MBS’ murder and dismemberment of Saudi dissident and Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi;
- silence on the kingdom’s repression of religious freedom — unlike Iran which has numerous churches and synagogues in the country, Saudi Arabia has none;
- looking the other way on the public beheadings and the imprisonment and sexual abuse of women activists who fought for the right to be able to drive;
- refusal to hand over investigative files to the families of 9/11 victims that would have helped them in their civil lawsuit against the Saudis, despite a promise from Trump to provide them;
- continual selling of arms and uranium to harness nuclear weapons.
Favors Towards Turkey
As reported by Eric Lipton and Benjamin Weiser of The New York Times,a comprehensive report on Erdoğan’s successful efforts to recruit top Trump administration officials into his corrupt scheme include:
- The Justice Department was prosecuting financial crimes by a Turkish bank, for which Erdoğan requested President Trump to quash the investigation;
- Trump has personally received more than $1 million in payments from business in Turkey while serving as president;
- Two attorneys general loyal to Trump, Matthew Whitaker and William Barr, both pressured federal prosecutors to go easy on the Turkish bank.
- Trump, at Erdoğan’s behest, repeatedly pressed then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for help getting a criminal case dropped against Reza Zarrab, a Turkish Iranian gold trader in his alleged illegalities with Halkbank — Tillerson was so unsettled by the extraordinary request to intervene that he complained to then-Chief of Staff John Kelly that he believed it was inappropriate, according to a former administration official.
According to reports, in mid-June 2019, when Geoffrey Berman, who served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 2018 to 2020, met with Barr in Washington; the latter tried to coerce the former to agree to allow the Justice Department to drop charges against the defendants and terminate investigations of other suspected conspirators. Barr subsequently fired Berman, who resisted his pressure; Justice Department officials cited his stubbornness on the Turkey case “as a key reason for his removal.”
Trump’s ambiguous relations with Turkey were first revealed after he declared his candidacy for president in 2015. When asked about Turkey, he conceded that he had a conflict of interest. “I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul,” Trump told Brietbart: “It’s called Trump Towers — two towers, instead of one. … And I’ve gotten to know Turkey very well. They’re amazing people. They’re incredible people. They have a strong leader.”
These favorable acts towards the Saudis and the Turks must cease. However, an embargo of sorts will not get the job done since both partners in crime, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, are coming together in order to combat a new sheriff in the White House.
The Challenge of the New Caliphate
The Biden administration will eventually have to deal with a dual-caliphate, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, as key member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The OIC, as the world’s second-largest international nongovernmental institution, is a powerful voting bloc in the United Nations, which promotes a global Islamic supremacy based on the Quranic teachings and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad. While it seemed that Saudi Arabia had the leading influence in the OIC, as per its flag and logo — it has a crescent moon encompassing the entire globe with the Ka’aba in the center — given the growing influence of the self-proclaimed caliph Erdoğan in the Islamic world, the Saudis have apparently forged an Islamic Axis of evil with Turkey.
Let it be known that the Joe Biden, as President Barak Hussein Obama’s vice president, had Erdoğan’s back; the same for criminal regime in Riyadh. If Biden, however, has the slightest possibility to curtail the Saudi and Turkish Islamic supremacy, he first and foremost must make a clean brake from the previous Obama and Trump favorable policies.
At a bare minimum, he should work towards excluding both Saudi Arabia and Turkey from participating in any future G20 summits until their records on human rights changes; this will hinder their financial hegemony. The Biden administration will also need to unite with our European allies, such as Austria, France and Hungary who have already taken measures against the growing influence of political Islam in their countries.
Time will tell what will happen.
Mario Alexis Portella is a priest of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy. He has a doctorate in canon law and civil law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome; he also holds a M. A. in Medieval History from Fordham University, as well as a B.A. in Government & Politics from St. John’s University. He is also author of Islam: Religion of Peace? – The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up.