WASHINGTON: Spy Agency knew when President Obama secretly authorized the central intelligence Agency in 2013 to start army the rebels of Syria. It also knew that there would be a secret ally which would pay for the covert operation. And that ally was the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the same partner which CIA has relied on for the decades for its involvement in the different conflicts.
In between the relationship of United States and Saudi Arabia the support for the rebellions of Syria is only the latest chapter. Most often both the countries have worked together inside Syria.
More money is contributed through the joint operations and training programs in the Middle East in which many other nations are also involved. Before that the ties of geopolitics and the cheap oil have been loosed since the time, United States have shown inclination towards the Iran.
The covert relation between the two countries explains the reason behind the United States different approach towards the Saudi Arabia when it comes to human rights abuses and the treatment of women and its extremists support for the Jihadists. Its apparent from the Saudi’s this month beheading of a Shiite cleric who had challenged the royal family.
Whereas Saudi’s are quite more open towards showing their support behind the Syrian rebel groups but the extent of their relationship with covert actions of CIA and their direct financial support has not been revealed.
The Saudi contribution has not yet been revealed by the American officials which is obviously the largest among the other states which have been financing the rebellions in the Syria. But the total estimated cost has been several billion dollars.
Entitled “US Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels,” the article included information about the Saudi funds to the CIA program, reminding of the Al-Saud money support for the wars launched by the US in Angola, Afghanistan and Nicaragua.
Despite that the US has never disclosed the exact amounts of Saudi money support, estimates have put the total cost of the arming and training effort at several billion dollars, whereas the article quoted former high rank US officials as saying that the US administration was watching anxiously the money and arms flow from Qatar and Saudi Arabia to the opposition gunmen in Syria, including al-Qaeda affiliate groups, through the Turkish borders in 2012.
Iranian backed militias and Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah are fighting alongside the Syrian army against mainly Sunni insurgents backed by Saudi Arabia, other Gulf States and Turkey in a conflict that has cost over 250,000 lives.
Confidential meeting was held in Jordan between the then CIA chief, David Petraus, and Gulf States intelligence officials, during which Petraus blamed the officials for the poor coordination in sending arms to the Syrian opposition groups via the CIA officers deployed in Turkey or Jordan, and all the attending parties decided to start coordination in this respect.
To confirm the Saudi key role, the US officials unanimously agreed on the Saudi support for the Timber Sycamor, which is by far the largest from Qatar and Turkey to the program.
Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former head of Saudi intelligence in a speech at the Georgetown University in the year 2002 said that, “And so the kingdom, with these countries, helped in some way, I believe, to keep the world safe at a time when the United States was not able to do that.”
The national security adviser Robert C McFarlane met the Prince Bandar who was the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the US at that time when the Reagan administration sought to sell the arms to the Iranian government to finance the rebels in Nicaragua.
Whereas Rogers declined to discuss the details of the program who is an also former republican congressman and also the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee when CIA began its program.