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U.S. Supports Sunni Extremists in Syria–Can Saudis Keep Them on the Reservation?

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal has attended Arab League meetings on Syria in a bid to halt violence in the crisis-wrecked country. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal has attended Arab League meetings on Syria in a bid to halt violence in the crisis-wrecked country. (Reuters)

Not so long ago, after twelve hours in the air, I found myself stranded at an international airport at two in the morning. The flight had been delayed — my pre-arranged pickup had abandoned his mission or just not shown up, and there was one taxi about to pull out and head home for the night. I was still 90 miles from my room for the night, and offered him twice the normal rate to take on one last fare, which he pointed out, wasn’t even close, direction-wise, to his own waiting bed.

But for twice the money, and for Allah, he would do it.

Mohammad was from Damascus, a Sunni Muslim in possession of a late model Dodge SUV, gleaming white on the outside, and decked out inside with wall-to-wall prayer rugs and beads.

As we moved down the highway, slipping off the urban shoulder that hosted the airport and into some very dark and rural territory, Mohammad began to talk. I was American, he knew, and his first beef was about Syria, and President Obama giving lip service to the Sunni opposition, but no guns. “He plays both sides,” says my driver, with his beard and turban, and I nod.

“He doesn’t really want the Sunnis to win — you know why? Because we have the strongest fighters, we will not give up, and will take it all, not just Syria.”

I nod again. “I haven’t been following it much,” I lie.

“The United States and NATO want to keep the Shiites in power because they’re weak, and because they’re between us and Palestine. The West knows if the Sunnis end up next door to Palestine, we’re going to join our brothers there, give them guns, support, fight with them.”

Sounded right to me. Now here’s the rest of this story: This Sunni son of Damascus isn’t ferrying me through the hinterlands of the Middle East, but to a friend’s house in the United States.

The Rising Crescent

This is what King Abdullah of Jordan means when he talks about the “Rising Crescent” over the Middle East. When he suggests that it may be too late for Saudi Arabia to contain Islamic fundamentalism, Wahhibism, the ultra-conservative branch of Sunni Islam, and to avoid the dire prospect, for the U.S. and the West, of having to choose between soaring oil prices (or the end of Saudi-supplied oil to the U.S., with China supplanting the U.S. as the big dog vis-à-vis oil and defense contracts).

The Rising Crescent is what he sees when he considers the dilemmas inherent in sending support, including arms, to militant Islamic groups who may use these weapons against the West and/or Israel at some point, but who are nonetheless currently holding the House of Saud on a very tight leash. Sunni clerics have long suspected the royals of only a nominal fealty to Wahhibism, and even recent efforts from the royals to curb extremism, roll back corruption, and move toward a light-weight form of parliamentary representation have had little effect.

The Roots of the Problem

But let’s scroll back: Saudi Arabia, second most important supplier of oil to the U.S. after Canada, is an Islamic monarchy. Its titular heads, kings, princes, et al. — whose monthly allowances range from 19k to 270k plus regular payola for steering defense contracts toward the U.S. — are walking a high wire of their own creation: an agreement cut in the 18th century and maintained ever since that traded recognition by the powerful Sunni religious leader Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab of Muhammad ibn Saud, of the House of Saud, as king (and his offspring and relatives possible successors).

Islamic extremists fight with US support

Islamic extremists fight with U.S. support

In return for this recognition, the royals would play protector to a rigid, puritanical Sunni hierarchy (only country in world where woman can’t drive) and remain a source of money, encouragement, schools, mosques and whatever the Wahhabis might want as time goes on. Roughly half a decade ago, the Wahhabis asked for more money to fund what they called “religious revivalism,” and apparently, the Royal Family of Saud missed the extremism, the violence, the virulent anti-Western sentiment encoded between the lines of that seemingly innocuous request.

A little known fact: Saudi Arabia, with its hundreds of billions, has very few waste and water treatment plants. When the average Saudi flushes his or her toilet, its contents flow into a neighborhood cesspool, which is pumped out daily by Filipinos or some other foreign workforce, and transported by truck to yet another giant cesspool out in the Saudi desert.

We are not dealing with a culture focused on progress or social betterment within the state or for its citizens. BenghaziAnd the people, citizens of an iron-fisted theocracy, don’t expect it. Remember the rioters in Benghazi after the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stephens.

The signs were written, so American television viewers could understand them, in English: “We don’t want your democracy.”

The U.S. government is trying, against all odds, to find common ground with Islamic extremists rapidly gaining the upper hand across the mideast — leaders who order their followers to fix their eyes not on this world, but on their place in an eternal realm, where issues like waste treatment, pertinent only to this short ephemeral existence on earth, won’t be relevant.

Sounds to me a lot like medieval Christianity, where religious zealots welcomed martyrdom as a first-class, direct flight to heaven — or paradise, as the Wahhabis assure their followers.

Think again of the Great Wall of China, 2000 years in the making, with untold numbers of forgotten workers buried under and amidst the stone. Remember the Great Pyramids of Giza, generations of forced labor. Both monuments to ideas, notions about the sort of power that has nothing to do with improving the existence or even noting the importance of living human beings.

How did we get here?

Allow me to repeat myself: In the ’60s and ’70s, the Royal Family of Saud made a serious mistake, despite close access to CIA advisors apparently as clueless as the otherwise-occupied Royals.

They said “yes” too many times to requests by their Wahhabi overseers for money, money, and more money to fund a much-needed “Islamic revival” — a campaign so successful that Islamic fundamentalism caught fire not just in Saudi Arabia, or even the mideast, but in Central Asia, North Africa and beyond.

Osama bin Laden rode the wave from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan all the way to New York City, where fifteen of his Saudi compatriots killed thousands of U.S. citizens. “Non-state actors,” the American people were told, and while every Saudi royal who happened to be in the U.S. on 9/11 instantly fled the country (a clue, perhaps?), it took years for the House of Saud to acknowledge that the majority of the 9/11 terrorists (fifteen out of nineteen) belonged to them.

Wahhabism gone wild. The Taliban its praetorian guard. Al Qaeda its foot soldiers. Its political front, the Muslim Brotherhood. Its supporters, the most radical, say “Break with the U.S., stop pumping so much oil, raise the price of oil, and lets support jihad against U.S. troops anywhere they stand up against Sunni upheaval.”

Since roughly 1932, when control of the Saudi oil fields was ceded to the royal family, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have had a deal: The Saudis give us oil at good prices (forget 1973), maintain a surplus in case it’s needed, and the U.S. sells huge caches of expensive weapons to Saudi Arabia. We want to maintain the status-quo (hence the “non-state actors” in 2001).

But the truth, which Jordan’s King Abdullah just laid out to President Obama last week, is that maintaining this status quo in the Middle East may no longer be a given. And according to a recent NPR report, Obama agreed with him. It’s a dangerous game and a dangerous time to be playing it.

The Royal House of Saud (and other moderate Arab states, some say) is hanging on by a thread, threatened by the momentum triggered by “the Arab Spring” — which ushered in the chaotic rule and would-be absolutism of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Sunni despotism in Libya, sectarian debacle in Bahrain — and the destabilization of pro-western or Shiite states triggered by Islamic extremism on the Arab street.

Islamic fundamentalism – Wahhabism, the Sunni sect intent on eliminating the other Muslim team, the Shiites (the minority sect and long-time rivals, constituting 10-14 percent of the Muslim population), is muscling the Saudi Royals to rally their infidel allies, the U.S., NATO states, and pro-western Gulf nations, in support of the Sunni agenda in Syria.

At the same time, the radical jihadist fighters gunning for Assad are clearly aware of the benefits should they be able to wrest control from their “umbrella organization,” the Syrian Free Army (FSA, aka “our dog in this fight”) during, just before, or after an FSA victory.

They also admit openly that their corollary goal is to mount a down-the-road offensive (a real one, not a diplomatic coup) against the U.S., NATO states, and the moderate (pro-western, pro-capitalist) Arab states whose aid they now need to ensure the success of their offensive against Assad — a bad man, but still the standard-bearer for Shiites, Alawites and Christians in Syria.

Who’s on First?

Reports have come in that these same FSA units, the puritanical jihadists, have used chemical weapons against Assad’s forces in Syria, curious, given the rumors circulating in DC that the danger of Assad’s government unleashing the same chemical weapons against the FSA, “our side,” might be Plan C (if the American and European public resists the idea, Plan B, of armed intervention against Assad without such provocation) — justifying a swift, final military blow to the dictator’s regime.

But here’s what I want to know: Who’s really got the chemical/biological weapons — the ones U.S. intelligence reported seeing moving up the highway from Baghdad to Damascus just before U.S. troops moved into Iraq? And how do we know what we say we know?

Neither the president, nor the head of the U.S. Department of Justice, Attorney General Eric Holder, nor Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, nor the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had the slightest clue, it seems, that ATF agents on the southwest border were allowing high-powered, combat-ready assault rifles, .50 caliber guns, and shoulder-to air missile launchers to move over the U.S. border into Mexico without so much as a “Gracias, Senora.”

Help me out here

Nobody I know, and probably nobody you know, thinks Assad should stay, but when the “freedom fighters” we’re counting on to make it better kidnap U.N. workers, and we get reports that the guys we’re backing with guns (via Croatia) and money are said to be using chemical weapons themselves in the “struggle for democracy,” I’d say it’s time to step back.

There’s an old Chinese bromide, from the Ming Dynasty, in fact — “Tiger at the front gate, wolf at the back.” The Russians are gone, but Islamic terrorist groups now operate at significant strength on five continents and in 67 countries.

Take a minute.

While Obama insists the U.S. isn’t sending lethal weapons to the FSA, the New York Times reports otherwise, and a report in a Croatian newspaper claims that the U.S. (read: CIA) is sending money to Saudi Arabia for the express purpose of its purchasing weapons from Croatia with instruction that these be transferred to the FSA in Syria.

The White House declines to comment, as does the U.K., and ditto the Croatian government — responses that invariably translate into the iron ring of truth.

And it makes sense: Croatia doesn’t officially enter the EU until July 1, 2013, so technically, at least in the minds of western intelligence agencies, the plan might not violate the European Arms Sanctions currently in place. As always, the devil is in the details.

And then, there’s this — we’ve done it so many times before. Think Iran-Contra. Consider Croatia’s push to acquire weapons during the conflict in the early ’90s: a U.S. Customs operation called Czech Stop (sniper rifles whose end user certificates would read Czechoslovakia would end up in Zagreb) lured the Croatian Minister of Defense to a carefully constructed “illegal arms distribution center” near Phoenix, AZ, where the Defense Minister himself and a “sniper expert” he’d brought with him pulled out 300k in cash for an illegal weapons buy that, thanks to U.S. law enforcement, never materialized.

Operation Fast and Furious, of course, was a different story, a scenario in which it “wasn’t us,” but straw buyers working for the cartels who managed to sneak more than 2000 combat-ready, untraceable weapons across the U.S. border into Mexico, one of which was used to kill a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. And not a soul, not one lily-white higher-up in either the U.S. or the Mexican government knew a thing about it. Go figure.

Cutouts. Straw buyers. Second and third-party transactions.

Oh, wait — we forgot to mention Mena, AK — the money, drugs and weapons scramble the U.S. mounted to aid the Nicaraguan Contras. A Senate investigative subcommittee chaired by none other than Senator John Kerry had this to say about that incident:

The Subcommittee found that the Contra drug links included:

  • Involvement in narcotics trafficking by individuals associated with the Contra movement.
  • Participation of narcotics traffickers in Contra supply operations through business relationships with Contra organizations.
  • Provision of assistance to the Contras by narcotics traffickers, including cash, weapons, planes, pilots, air supply services and other materials, on a voluntary basis by the traffickers.
  • Payments to drug traffickers by the US State Department of funds authorized by the Congress for humanitarian assistance to the Contras, in some cases after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges, in others while traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies.”

Senate Committee Report on Drugs,
Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy
chaired by Senator John F. Kerry

U.S. Law Prohibits Aid and Succor to the Enemy

Note: even the CIA cannot commit to transfer U.S. funds to a foreign ally, in this case Saudi Arabia, with instructions that those monies should be used to purchase weapons from another foreign country with instructions to deliver those same weapons to a third entity — in this case the FSA — without the express authorization of the President of the United States, acting in an official capacity. Even covert operations must conform to rules and regulation concordant with U.S. law.

In the case of Syria, where FSA supporters (us) appear to believe that any fleas acquired from a quick lie-down with some pretty notorious dogs is worth it, even a strategy as pragmatic as this one may be must be measured against the cost to, yes, the rule of law. If a U.S. agency has wired money to the Saudis and instructed them to buy guns that we know will end up in the hands of jihadist fighting units in Syria, we must assume this decision to team up with anti-American extremists represents a conscious choice made at the highest levels of the U.S. government.

New York Times contributor Patrick Henningsen, and Tony Cartlucci, a geopolitical writer based in Bangkok, have both put out some very interesting information.

Known terrorist groups fighting under the aegis of the FSA against Assad in Syria, with the backing of the U.S., U.K., NATO, Qatar and Saudi Arabia include Saudi intelligence-backed:

  • Jabhat al-Nusra, aka the “al Mursa Front”
  • The Libyan Islamic Fighting Front (Abdullah Azzam Brigades)
  • Al Bakraa ibn Malik Martyrdom Brigade
  • The jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham
  • The PKK (in NE Syria)
  • Kata’ib Mohadzherin from the Russian Caucasus region

Salafist suicide bombers are, of course, of special concern to the Russians, panicked by western support for the SFA, the al Qaeda units fighting under that aegis, and other terrorist organizations betting on being the last fighters standing in the cage.

And here’s an interesting aside: like Libya’s new militant governor of Tripoli, Abdel Hakim Belhadj, the leader of the terrorist group Kata’ib Mohadzherin, Airat Vakhitov, was also imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay in 2002 after being captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and then released back into the terrorist pool.

No matter. The point is that ad hoc alliances among dissident terrorist outfits often constitute an initial step in eliminating a common enemy. If Assad goes, the next battle is within the FSA itself, and like the larger struggle, this winnowing-out will mirror the interests of larger partners — Saudi Arabia, the U.S., NATO and the Gulf states.

Revolution and Counter-Revolution

In a previous blog, I jokingly (ok, half-jokingly) asked if the anti-Assad team, once they’ve achieved victory with the help of jihadist groups antagonistic to their own interests and culture, might consider turning on “the enemy within” the FSA in the same way the allies turned on the Communist partisans in the last days of World War II.

Interestingly enough, a blog by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, Director, American Center for Democracy, raises a question as to whether there may already have been talk between western supporters (CIA) and “moderates” within the FSA about using drones, once the anti-Assad campaign is concluded, to target “known terrorists” involved in the inevitable Syrian power-grab.

According to Ehrenfeld,

Word is also out that the CIA has developed a contingency plan for fly-over fighting in Syria, to “size up Islamic extremists in Syria for drone strikes.” The potential victims appear to be members of Jabhat al Nusra, also known as the Nusra Front.

It’s a strategy. Not new. Not pretty. But tried, and sometimes true.

Let’s pretend it’s a plan too devious, too shaky, too obvious—especially to its potential targets—to pass muster, even at Langley, and go back to square one.

Then let’s pretend that the idea, articulated recently by newly-appointed Secretary of State John Kerry, that the U.S. can “be confident arms sent to the Syrian opposition will not fall into the wrong hands” isn’t preposterous.

The entity known as the Free Syrian Army, or FSA, is a chaotic collection of competing, adversarial ideologues, opportunists, and foaming-at-the-mouth jihadists, possessed of shifting allegiances to disparate leaders and units, and ready to kill anyone or anything (including each other) if it might advance a self-serving, no matter how momentary, agenda or impulse. The idea that it’s possible to sort out the good guys from the bad is ludicrous. So let’s just admit it, John, and move on.

Or you can ask those CIA agents on the border between Turkey and Syria whose job it’s been to decide who gets a gun and who doesn’t—they know.

Seymour Hersh, writing in The New Yorker, presaged the current dilemma in 2007. The piece is titled “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s New Policy Benefiting Our Enemies in the War on Terrorism?”

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

Ok, Seymour, the answer to your question is yes, yes, and yes again.

Another analyst moves this thinking forward with a comment about the current House of Saud: “The Royal family (now) governs a country completely disconnected from the life the Royals are living and the foreign policy they are conducting—a huge contradiction.”

What’s that I hear from that high palace window in Riyadh?

Let them eat oil?

Remember the Bastille.

Abdullah of Jordan—Ahead of the Curve

If you haven’t read Jeffrey Goldberg’s piece on King Abdullah of Jordan in the April edition of the Atlantic, take that PC out of your cubicle, find a quiet place, and click here now—it’s 36 pages long, but worth it, believe me.

Salient points: Hashemite King Abdullah of Jordan is personally and emotionally the most pro-U.S. leader in the mideast. A graduate of Deerfield Academy, “Ab,” as he was called by his fellow preppies (who wouldn’t recognize a Hashemite if they fell over one) was just one of the guys, taking it on the chin and even bussing tables in the school cafeteria, like everyone else, when his turn came.

He’s a reformist, a modernizer, a believer in pluralism and representative government — a man who flies his own blackhawk helicopter (he’s a former commander, Royal Jordanian special forces), and once took an spur-of-the-moment, Kerouac motorcycle ride with some pals along the wild highways of the American west. No one recognized him, and he likes to joke with U.S. intelligence about their lack of due diligence in not detecting a gang of motocycle-riding AY-RABS (as he pronounces it) racing undetected along the backroads of the good ol’ USA.

As far as Syria is concerned, he tells Goldberg he is not hopeful.“What happens to all monarchies,” he asks. Too much has happened — the Arab Spring, revolution in the streets. King Abdullah, who has been severely criticized, as has his wife Rania, for being “too liberal, too western” — al Qaeda wants to kill him — envisions a constitutional monarchy for Jordan (“like the constitutional monarchy in the U.K.), complete with a parliament constituted not along tribal lines or based on patronage, but built of political parties driven by ideas — independent thought, idealistic stretch, debate, discussion, progress.

His greatest obstacle, the king tells Goldberg, comes not from outside Jordan, but from within, where the eastern tribes, the political heavyweights behind the throne, expect Abdullah to keep Jordan’s western tribes and the Palestinians weak and in their place. Tribal rivalries.

“More than half of all Jordanians are of Palestine origin, with roots on the West Bank of the Jordan River, but the tribal leaders are from the East Bank, and the Hashemite kings have depended on East Bankers to defend the throne since the Hashemites first came to what was then called Transjordan from Mecca almost 100 years ago…”

The status quo. Again. He takes Goldberg with him on a visit to the western tribes (“the dinosaurs’) and talks to them about employment, improvement, innovation. One elderly tribal leader remarks that street crime is up at night, and whereas young men with sticks used to patrol the streets, that was no longer the case — maybe they could re-institute that practice, buy better sticks. Bigger sticks. It would create employment.

Can Reform Outpace Revolution?

The glacial pace of change in Jordan dismays King Abdullah. But 9/11, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Arab Spring, chaos in the streets — it’s evoked different responses from different rulers. No monarch has yet been deposed in the mideast — a game changer if it happens — and while Abdullah’s advisors caution that he may have to move faster then internal politics appear to allow, Goldberg focuses on the difference in the ways that Assad and Abdullah have handled two surpassingly important challenges to Arab leaders—the Muslim Brotherhood, on the one hand, and the existence of Israel, on the other—hints at the chasm of difference between the two families.

The Hashemites (in Jordan) have used the General Intelligence Department (GID, the state intel agency) to create dissention the ranks of the Brotherhood; they have bought off some of the group’s leaders; they have made the case to Jordanians that the Muslim Brothers are more interested in imposing the rule of fundamentalist sharia law than in making the country more democratic. The Assads, in contrast, have taken a more direct approach, killing Muslim Brothers in large numbers…in 1982 Hafez al-Assad’s forces dilled between 10,000 and 20,000 in the city of Hama.

Jordan versus the Brotherhood:

Which is not to say that the Hashemites don’t harbor visceral dislike for the Brotherhood. Abdullah says, “When you go to the State Department and talk about this, they’re like, ‘This is just the liberals talking, this is the monarch saying that the Muslim Brotherhood is deep-rooted and sinister.’ Some of his Western interlocutors, he told me, argue that “the only way you can have democracy is through the Muslim Brotherhood.” His job, he says, is to point out that the Brotherhood is run by “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and wants to impose its retrograde vision of society and its anti-Western politics on the Muslim Middle East. This, he said, is “our major fight”—to prevent the Muslim Brothers from conniving their way into power across the region.

Can Jordan’s reformist king survive?

Goldberg continues:

The king, for his part, is certain that the Muslim Brotherhood wants to see him gone. The GID has told him the Brotherhood high command in Cairo is actively fomenting unrest in Jordan. According to multiple sources, the GID claims to have intercepted communications from Brotherhood leaders in Egypt to their Jordanian affiliates, encouraging them to boycott elections and destabilize the country. Abdullah told me [Goldberg] that “behind closed doors, the Muslim Brotherhood here wants to overthrow” the government…they don’t believe in in the constitution of Jordan—they won’t swear on the constitution. They will only swear on the constitution of the Muslim Brotherhood. Their allegiance is to the murshid, the supreme guide or leader of the Brotherhood based in Cairo. Abdullah said that when Brothers win election to parliament, and swear to follow the text of the Jordanian constitution, they get a fatwa—a religious ruling—stating that ‘you can put your hand on the Koran but what you swear on the Koran is non-binding’ when you’re declaring fealty to a secular document.

And as bad as that news is, it’s not the worst.

Goldberg says, while most of the gulf monarchs remain his allies — they, too, fear the Muslim Brotherhood — the king’s expansive, moderate view of Islam has served to isolate him from the Arab world’s rising rulers. Tunesia is now ruled by Islamists. In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, a longtime Jordanian ally, has been replaced by Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader. The king argues that a new, radical alliance is emerging, one that both complements and rivals the Iranian-led Shia crescent.

King Abdullah tells Goldberg, “I see a Muslim Brotherhood crescent developing in Egypt and Turkey. The Arab Spring highlighted a new crescent in the process of development.”

And what about Abdullah’s Islamic critics? The radical fundamentalist view? Ominous.

From Goldberg’s piece,

Zaki Bani Rashid, the chief of the Islamic Action Front’s (IAF) politburo, says that the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions resemble the French revolution in its viral qualities. “The French Revolution caused the end of regimes all through Europe,” he says. “The Arab-world revolutions will have the same effect through our region…the [Jordanian] regime must understand that we need more democracy and more representative rule. We want a better country.” He said this while seated underneath a portrait of King Abdullah. Hamza Mansour, the IAF’s secretary-general, said that if reform did not come quickly, the possibility of ‘social violence’ would grow.”


Yes, they seldom turn out as planned. There are unchangeable realities at work in this situation: The U.S. must maintain its relationship vis-à-vis oil, defense contracts, access to Saudi air and surface space — an abrupt end is irremediable at this particular point, despite optimistic predictions that the U.S. could overtake both Saudi Arabia and Russian as the world’s largest oil producer in the future.

The U.S. government is committed to supporting the extremist Sunni militants who support the House of Saud, even though that means in some cases committing resources, money and guns, to the same terrorist groups who supported or participated in the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington — and who have said they hope to launch more attacks on the United States in the future.

The U.S. government is reported to be arming FSA rebels, with most of the weaponry going to the most effective and committed fighting units as a matter of course: the most effective and efficient fighting units get the cream. If the U.S. is involved in a clandestine operation to arm forces hostile to the United States and its people, forces that have already engaged in attacks on U.S. soil, then Congress should be looking at this.

Britain’s greatest queen, Elizabeth I, used to say “my dogs wear my collars.”

The question here, it appears, is one even Bess might have been hard put to answer: “Which dogs are wearing whose collars?”



Kathleen Millar

Kathleen Millar began her career in public affairs working for Lyn Nofziger, White House Communications Director. She has gone on to write about a wide range of enforcement and security issues for DHS, for the US Department of the Treasury (Customs & Border Patrol), for Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), then a Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and for top law enforcement officials in the United States and abroad.

A Founding Member of the Department of Homeland Security, Millar was also the deputy spokesperson-senior writer for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna, Austria. She has authored numerous speeches, articles and opeds under her own and client bylines, and her work, focusing on trafficking, terrorism, border and national security, has appeared in both national and international outlets, including The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Financial Times, and Vital Speeches of the Day.

Kathleen Millar holds an MA from Georgetown University and was the recipient of a United Nations Fellowship, International Affairs, Oxford. She is a member of the Georgetown University Alumni Association, Women in International Security (GU), the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, and the American News Women’s Club in Washington, DC. Kathleen Millar is currently teaching and writing about efforts to combat transnational organized crime.