“Bandar Bush” Buys Votes for War on Syria
Wayne MADSEN | 21.09.2013

“Bandar Bush” Buys Votes for War on Syria

Multiple intelligence sources in Washington, London, Beirut, and Paris claim that Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan has paid off key members of the U.S. Senate and House leadership, as well as key ministers of the French government, with "incentive cash" to support an American and French "shock and awe" military strike on not only Syria but Hezbollah positions in Lebanon.

Prior to the agreement on the last-minute Russian-U.S. “Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons” worked out between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, Kerry ordered all U.S. diplomats out of Lebanon in preparation for a U.S. strike on targets mainly in south Beirut and south Lebanon. That move prompted Lebanese intelligence to examine Bandar’s lobbying activities in Washington and Paris.

Bandar was chiefly behind the shipment of weapons to Syrian rebels from arms caches seized by Islamist Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood guerrillas in Libya from Muammar Qaddafi's forces. That operation, which was botched by a series of circumstances, including the dissemination of an anti-Muslim video on YouTube and a failed covert operation conducted under the auspices of a classified President Finding signed by Barack Obama and implemented by then-National Security Adviser and current CIA director John Brennan, resulted in the September 12, 2012 attack on a Central Intelligence Agency annex in Benghazi. The attack resulted in the deaths of four U.S. government personnel, including U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

Rival Libyan groups loyal to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, respectively, also contributed to the failure of the weapons buying operation in Benghazi. Pro-Saudi Salafists were upset that pro-Muslim Brotherhood rebels were reaping huge amounts of cash from Libyan weapons being shipped on Qatar Airways cargo flights from Benghazi to Turkey for later distribution to Syrian rebels. Afghanistan veterans of the Saudi-funded Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which battled Qaddafi's forces for a number of years and were members of Al Qaeda, got their revenge on Qatar and the CIA by attacking the U.S. "diplomatic annex" in Benghazi. The Obama administration launched a cover-up to keep secret the nature of the CIA's weapons transfer operation from Libya to Syria.

Bandar, affectionately known as “Bandar Bush” by members of the Bush family because of his close ties to both former Presidents George H. W. and George W. Bush, is not stranger to bribes. Much of the money Bandar is using to buy off members of Congress and the French National Assembly originates from a $2 billion slush fund amassed by Bandar as a result of bribes paid to him by the British defense firm BAE Systems for a Saudi oil-for-weapons deal concluded with Great Britain in the 1980s. Over more than two decades, the Bank of England transferred some $2 billion to the accounts of Bandar and other Saudi officials as a deal "sweetener." British Tornado and Typhoon Eurofighter aircraft were provided to Saudi Arabia, in addition to Tornado upgrades and missiles. The caper, known as the “Al-Yamamah deal,” reaped BAE a whopping $43 billion in revenue. The $2 billion pocketed by Bandar roughly represents the standard five percent “agent fee” or “baksheesh” rampant in business deals with Saudi and other Gulf Arab government officials.

Republican and Democratic members of the Senate and House leadership, including Senators Harry Reid, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Barbara Boxer, and Robert Menendez, as well as House Speaker John Boehner, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers, New York's Peter King, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, and others have seen their campaign chests grow substantially as a result of Bandar's financial largesse, according to our multiple sources.

It also helped Bandar that the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) rose to support the Syria military force authorization bill in the U.S. Congress. With cajoling and political arm twisting by AIPAC lobbyists and the whiff of cash from Bandar, the Congressional leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties fell in line behind support for the Obama administration’s military force initiative. McCain is the second largest recipient of AIPAC cash bested only by Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Menendez. McCain also has a cozy relationship with radical Islamic groups in Libya, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. In essence, McCain’s foreign leanings represent the nexus of Israeli Zionist and Saudi Wahhabist/Salafist interests currently at play throughout the Middle East. Wherever secular pan-Arab socialist governments have been the target of the United States, Saudi and Israeli interests, backed by the “civil society” non-governmental organization provocateurs of hedge fund tycoon George Soros, have been at the forefront of rallying support for Islamist rebels.

Mirroring his substantial influence peddling operation in Washington, where Bandar once served as Saudi ambassador and is believed to have had a hand in financially supporting some of the accused Saudi 9/11 hijackers, Bandar’s lobbying operations expanded to Paris to ensure a French parliamentary vote in support of a military attack on Syria. The similarities of the lobbying efforts in Paris to the operations in Washington were more than apparent. As with AIPAC, its Brussels-based counterpart, the European Jewish Congress (EJC), went to work on pressuring members of the French National Assembly, as well as members of the European Parliament, to support a military strike on Syria.

The chief supporter and whip for French parliamentary support for a strike on Syria is Jean-Marc Ayrault, the Prime Minister. Although the pronunciation of “Ayrault” in Arabic means “penis,” the French Prime Minister, along with President Francois Hollande, became Bandar’s chief allies in Paris. Ayrault’s stance was backed by Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici who is a major supporter of Israel…

Just as with the “Al Yamamah deal,” Bandar was in a position to sweeten the deal for French support for the Syrian rebels. As Bandar and the EJC lined up French parliamentary support for a French military attack on Syria, it was announced that Saudi Arabia awarded a one billion euro contract to three French companies , Thales, DCNS and MBDA, to refurbish five Saudi Navy ships. Hollande was due to visit Saudi Arabia in the autumn, his second trip to the kingdom in a year.

Opposed to an attack on Syria was French Left Party (Parti de Gauche) leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon. However, like Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and U.S. presidential hopeful, Mélenchon, a once and future presidential hopeful, has been dogged by spurious and unproven charges of “anti-Semitism” from the respective Israel Lobbies in both countries. It is a well-known tactic of the Israel Lobbies to conflate opposition to launching wars against Arab countries with anti-Semitism. Yet, it is the Israel Lobbies of many nations that have been supporting military assistance to Al Qaeda and its allies.

Senior Israeli officials were anonymously quoted in the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom as saying, “Al-Qaeda control over Syria would be preferable to a victory by Assad over the rebels.” It was the clearest indication yet that when it comes to support for Al Qaeda, Bandar and right-wing Israeli government officials are on the same page.

The Saudi-Israeli initiative to line up European Parliament support for an attack on Syria failed whenArnaud Danjean, the head of the parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defense, said there was insufficient evidence that Bashar Assad was behind the August 21 chemical attack in Ghouta. In fact, the failure of the U.S. Congress and European Parliament, along with stiff opposition in the French National Assembly, as well as the British House of Commons’ “No” vote, to authorize force against Syria, is being seen as the first major international defeat for Saudi and Israeli lobbying efforts in Washington, Brussels, Paris, and London.