Video Link: Queen of Islam: Elizabeth II related to Prophet Muhammad

In light of what we have discovered has been happening, it is important for us to take a look at the forces behind the events.  This is just another article in a series.  The truth is very complicated and there are so many layers.  With God’s help, we will be able to dig through the lies and come to TRUTH in all things. 

It is extremely important that we understand this world we are living in and how it operates.  I know that these truths are hard for people to look at.  Everyone wants to just enjoy their little world.  HOWEVER, we are living in the Endtimes.  There is a lot of stuff that is going to affect you directly very soon.  You need to be aware and awake.  

I have posted these articles here to help you come to understand the relationship between England and the Arab world.  Whether you want to believe it or not, the WORLD is run and CONTROLLED by the powerful, evil, ELITE players.  The whole world is just a game to them.  They don’t care about the regular people.  The hungry masses.  The “worthless eaters” as they call us.  You better wake up and understand!

Please READ these articles through.  This information is important and will help you to see the truth. 


How Britain Carved Up the Middle East and Helped Create Saudi Arabia

This is an edited extract from Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam


The British strategy of colonial divide and rule, and reliance on Muslim forces to promote imperial interests, reached its apogee in the Middle East during and after the First World War. The carving up of the region by British and French officials has been endlessly commented on – though less so as an illustration of the long-standing British ‘use’ of Islam, which then took on a new turn. The Middle East was seen by British planners as critical for both strategic and commercial reasons. Strategically, the Islamic territories were important buffers against Russian expansion into the imperial land route from British India to British-controlled Egypt. But oil had by now also entered the picture, with the founding of the Anglo–Iranian Oil Corporation in Persia in 1908, the discovery of oil in Iraq soon after, and its increasingly important role in powering the military during the First World War. British planners viewed control over Iraqi and Persian oil to be ‘a first-class British war aim’, Sir Maurice Hankey, secretary of the War Cabinet, said towards the end of the conflict. By November 1918 the general staff in Baghdad wrote that ‘the future power in the world is oil’.

British foreign policy had, since the sixteenth century, supported the Ottoman empire of the Muslim Turks, the largest and most powerful Muslim entity in the world which, at its height in the seventeenth century, had spanned North Africa, southeast Europe and much of the Middle East. Britain was committed to defending ‘Ottoman integrity’ against Russian and French imperial designs, which involved de facto support for the Turkish Caliphate – the Ottoman sultan’s claim to be the leader of the ummah, the Muslim world community. After Britain captured India, the Ottoman empire was seen as a convenient buffer to keep out rivals along the military and trade route to the jewel in the crown. London often cast itself as the savior of the Turkish Sultan: in the Crimean War of 1854–6, one of the bloodiest conflicts in modern European history, Britain and France fought on behalf of the Ottomans against Russia. The ‘Eastern Question’ – the imperial struggle for control in the lands dominated by the decaying Ottoman empire – was a process in which Britain essentially tried to shore up the last great Muslim empire against its great power rivals. By the time Ottoman Turkey made the fateful choice of siding with Germany in the First World War, it was already a declining power but still controlled much of the Middle East, including present-day Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine, which it had ruled for 400 years. After its defeat, the European powers, led by the British, fell upon its carcass and divided it up between them.

During the First World War Britain appealed to the Arabs in the Middle East to join it in overthrowing Ottoman rule of their territories, in exchange for British guarantees of postwar independence. In its 1914 proclamation ‘to the natives of Arabia, Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia’, the British government stated that:

‘One of [the government’s] fundamental traditions is to be a friend of Islam and Muslums [sic] and to defend the Islamic Khalifate even if it was a Khalifate of conquest and necessity as the Turkish Khalifate which England had defended with money and men and influence several times … There is no nation amongst Muslums who is now capable of upholding the Islamic Khalifate except the Arab nation and no country is more fitted for its seat than the Arab countries’.

In May 1915, Britain also proclaimed to the ‘people of Arabia’ that ‘the religion of Islam, as history proves, has always been most scrupulously respected by the English government’, and that, despite the sultan of Turkey having become an enemy, ‘our policy of respect and friendliness towards Islam remains unchanged’.

A huge amount has been written on the ‘Arab revolt’ against Turkish rule, including the romanticized heroics of Lawrence of Arabia and Britain’s subsequent betrayal of its guarantees of ‘independence’ for the Arabs; these guarantees, to the British, meant not granting Arabs national sovereignty but allowing the presence of exclusively British advisers to administrate Arab countries which would become British ‘protectorates’. One striking aspect of the call to Arabs was Britain’s appeal to Islam in its promises to the then ruler, or sheriff, of the holy city of Mecca, Hussein bin Ali. Hussein, whose religious authority and position derived from his supposed descent from Muhammad, agreed to lead the Arab revolt in return for British recognition of him after the war as the ruler of a vast territory stretching from present-day Syria to Yemen, thus encompassing all of modern Saudi Arabia. The British government wrote to Hussein in November 1914, stating that:

‘If the Amir [ie, Hussein] … and Arabs in general assist Great Britain in this conflict that has been forced upon us by Turkey, Great Britain will promise not to intervene in any manner whatsoever whether in things religious or otherwise … Till now we have defended and befriended Islam in the person of the Turks: henceforward it shall be in that of the noble Arab. It may be that an Arab of true race will assume the Khalifate at Mecca or Medina, and so good may come by the help of God out of all the evil that is now occurring’.

This last momentous sentence was Britain promising to help restore the Islamic Caliphate to Arabia and for Sherif Hussein to be the new caliph, the successor to the Turkish sultan. It was Medina, in modern Saudi Arabia, which was the first capital of the Caliphate after the prophet Muhammed died in the seventh century, following which it had been claimed by a variety of dynasties, latterly the Ottomans. London promised to Hussein that Britain ‘will guarantee the Holy Places [at Mecca and Medina] against all external aggression and will recognize their inviolability.’ Lord Kitchener, the secretary of state for war, noted in March 1915 that ‘if the Khalifate were transferred to Arabia, it would remain to a great extent under our influence.’ The coastline of the Arabian peninsula could be easily controlled by the British navy. By championing an Arabian kingdom under British auspices, Britain was exerting its dominance over the spiritual leadership of the Muslim world. Indeed, Britain was helping Islam to reclaim its roots and return to its origins.

However, some British officials during and after the war also feared that the Caliphate could be used as a rallying point for anti-colonial movements, to undermine British rule in India and Egypt. In particular, they feared the prospect of a Muslim holy war against Britain, something the Turkish sultan had proclaimed on entering the First World War. In his analysis of the Middle East during and after the First World War, David Fromkin notes that British leaders believed that Islam could be manipulated by buying or capturing its religious leadership. They believed, in short, that whoever controlled the person of the caliph controlled Sunni Islam.

Sherif Hussein came out in revolt against the Ottoman empire in June 1916, recruiting a small Arab force of a few thousand men to fight in the Hijaz region, the western coastal area of Arabia containing the cities of Jeddah, Mecca, and Medina. The writer, Gertrude Bell, who was to become an imperial architect of Iraq, noted that with the fighting at Mecca ‘the revolt of the Holy places is an immense moral and political asset’.

However, Hussein’s revolt achieved only minor victories over the Ottoman army and failed to mobilize people in any part of the Arab world, despite being subsidized by the British to the tune of £11 million (around $400 million in today’s money). British officers served as military advisers to Hussein’s revolt; one such was Colonel T.E. Lawrence ‘of Arabia’, an aide to Faisal, Sherif Hussein’s son, who was appointed to command the latter’s military forces.

One month before the Arab revolt broke out, Britain and France secretly agreed to divide the Middle East between their zones of influence, in the Sykes-Picot Agreement, named after their respective foreign ministers. This abandonment of the commitment to Ottoman territorial integrity – overturning a mainstay of British foreign policy – was frankly explained by British officials. Lawrence, supposedly the great ‘liberator’ of the Arab world, wrote an intelligence memo in January 1916 stating that the Arab revolt was:

‘beneficial to us because it marches with our immediate aims, the break up of the Islamic ‘bloc’ and the defeat and disruption of the Ottoman Empire, and because the states [Sherif Hussein] would set up to succeed the Turks would be … harmless to ourselves … The Arabs are even less stable than the Turks. If properly handled they would remain in a state of political mosaic, a tissue of small jealous principalities incapable of cohesion’.

After the war, Lawrence wrote a report for the British Cabinet entitled ‘Reconstruction of Arabia’, arguing that it was urgent for the British and their allies to find a Muslim leader who could counter the Ottoman empire’s attempted jihad against them in the name of the caliph:

‘When war broke out an urgent need to divide Islam was added, and we became reconciled to seek for allies rather than subjects … We hoped by the creation of a ring of client states, themselves insisting on our patronage, to turn the present and future flank of any foreign power with designs on the three rivers [Iraq]. The greatest obstacle, from a war standpoint, to any Arab movement, was its greatest virtue in peace-time – the lack of solidarity between the various Arab movements … The Sherif [Hussein] was ultimately chosen because of the rift he would create in Islam’.

The benefit of division in the Middle East – a key point in all these documents – was also recognized by the foreign department of the British government of India: ‘What we want’, it stated, ‘is not a United Arabia, but a weak and disunited Arabia, split up into little principalities so far as possible under our suzerainty – but incapable of coordinated action against us, forming a buffer against the Powers in the West.’

Birth of the British-Saudi alliance

Following the Arab revolt in 1916 and Britain’s defeat of the Turkish armies throughout the region, Hussein bin Ali, the ruler of the holy city of Mecca, proclaimed himself King of all the Arab countries, including the Hijaz in Arabia, but the British government was prepared to recognize only his control of the latter. Confrontation over the future of Arabia ensued between Hussein and another British protégé, Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, an emir and rising power in central Arabia whose forces had captured the Nejd region with its capital at Riyadh. British officials had been split on who to champion as the leader of the revolt against the Turks – the British government of India had feared British sponsorship of an Arab caliph who would lead the entire Muslim world, and the effects this might have on Muslims in India, and had therefore favoured Ibn Saud, whose pretensions were limited to Arabia.

In contrast to Hussein’s orthodox Sunnism, the future founder of Saudi Arabia sat at the head of an ultra-conservative Sunni revivalist movement, now known as Wahhabism, which professed a strict adherence to the tenets of Islam, and which had developed in the eighteenth century based on the teaching of the theologian, Mohammed ibn Abdul Wahhab, born in 1703. Ibn Saud’s military forces were the Ikhwani, or Brotherhood, a militia of Bedouin tribesmen instructed by religious teachers who were committed to the purification of Islam and the advancement of government based on strict Islamic law.

Britain had already provided arms and money to Ibn Saud during the First World War, signing a treaty with him in 1915 and recognizing him as the ruler of the Nejd province under British protection. By the end of the war, he was receiving a British subsidy of £5,000 a month – considerably less than the £12,000 a month doled out to Hussein, whom the British government at first continued to favor. That some British officials were pinning their strategic hopes on Ibn Saud during the war is evidenced in a memorandum from one British soldier, a Captain Bray, on the ‘Mohammedan question’ in 1917:

‘At the present moment agitation is intense in all Mohammedan countries … The reports of agents and others confirm … the extreme vitality of the movement [pan-Islamism] … It is … essential that the country to whom Mohammedans look should not be Afghanistan. We should therefore create a state more convenient for ourselves, to whom the attention of Islam should be turned. We have an opportunity in Arabia’.

In 1919 London used aircraft in the Hijaz in support of Hussein’s confrontation with Ibn Saud. It was to little avail: after accepting a temporary ceasefire in 1920, Ibn Saud’s 150,000-strong Ikhwani advanced relentlessly, and by the mid-1920s had gained control of Arabia, including the Hijaz and the Holy Places, defeating Hussein for supremacy in the region. Ibn Saud established ‘Saudi’ Arabia in an orgy of murder. In his exposé of the corruption of the Saudi ruling family, Said Aburish describes Ibn Saud as ‘a lecher and a bloodthirsty autocrat … whose savagery wreaked havoc across Arabia’, terrorizing and mercilessly slaughtering his enemies. The conquest of Arabia cost the lives of around 400,000 people since Saud’s forces did not take prisoners; over a million people fled to neighboring countries. Numerous rebellions against the House of Saud subsequently took place, each put down in ‘mass killings of mostly innocent victims, including women and children’. By the mid-1920s most of Arabia had been subdued, 40,000 people had been publicly executed and some 350,000 had had limbs amputated; the territory was divided into districts under the control of Saud’s relatives, a situation which largely prevails today.

The British recognized Ibn Saud’s control of Arabia, and by 1922 his subsidy was raised to £100,000 a year by Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill. At the same time, Churchill described Ibn Saud’s Wahhabis as akin to the present-day Taliban, telling the House of Commons in July 1921 that they were ‘austere, intolerant, well-armed and bloodthirsty’ and that ‘they hold it as an article of duty, as well as of faith, to kill all who do not share their opinions and to make slaves of their wives and children. Women have been put to death in Wahhabi villages for simply appearing in the streets. It is a penal offence to wear a silk garment. Men have been killed for smoking a cigarette.’ However, Churchill also later wrote that ‘my admiration for him [Ibn Saud] was deep, because of his unfailing loyalty to us’, and the British government set about consolidating its grip on this loyalty.

In 1917 London had dispatched Harry St John Philby – father of Kim, the later Soviet spy – to Saudi Arabia, where he remained until Ibn Saud’s death in 1953. Philby’s role was ‘to consult with the Foreign Office over ways to consolidate the rule and extend the influence’ of Ibn Saud. A 1927 treaty ceded control of the country’s foreign affairs to Britain. When elements of the Ikhwani, opposed to the British presence in the country, rebelled against the regime in 1929, Ibn Saud called for British support. The RAF and troops from the British-controlled army in neighboring Iraq were dispatched, and the rebellion was put down the following year. Ibn Saud highly appreciated Britain’s support for him, especially during the rebellion, and this paved the way for the development of relations between the Saudi kingdom and the West that became the core of Saudi foreign policy.

Following the consolidation of the Saudi–British alliance, Ibn Saud relegated the Ikhwani’s role to that of educating and monitoring public morality. But the power of Wahhabism had already transformed Bedouins into mujahideen – holy warriors – for whom devotion to the ummah transcended tribal affiliations. In subsequent decades, the Ikhwani’s jihadi conquest of the Arabian peninsula by the sword and the Koran would be constantly invoked in Saudi Arabian teaching. Officially proclaimed in 1932, and to a large extent a British creation, Saudi Arabia would go on to act as the world’s main propagator of fundamentalist Islam, providing the ideological and financial centre of global jihadism. Indeed, Saudi Wahhabism has been described as the ‘founding ideology’ of modern jihad.

The new state of Saudi Arabia, its regional authority underpinned by a religious fundamentalism, gave Britain a foothold in the heart of the Islamic world, in Mecca and Medina. More broadly, Britain had succeeded in achieving its goal of a divided Middle East and a ‘ring of client states’ out of the ashes of the Ottoman empire. The Gulf states ringing Saudi Arabia, in Aden, Bahrain and Oman, were all feudal regimes underpinned by British military protection. Meanwhile, Britain continued to exploit its other potential clients: Faisal, who, with the Allies had captured Damascus in 1918, was made King of Iraq in 1921, and Abdullah, Sherif Hussein’s other son, was dubbed King of Transjordan, which became ‘independent’ under British ‘protection’ in 1923. Finally, there was Palestine, which had also been captured by British forces towards the end of the war. Here, however, Britain was committed to creating what Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour outlined in 1917 as a ‘national home’ for the Jews. In April 1920, at a conference in the Italian resort of San Remo, the newly formed League of Nations formally handed Britain a mandate to govern Palestine.

Balfour had also said that what Britain needed in the Middle East in the early years of the twentieth century was ‘supreme economic and political control to be exercised … in friendly and unostentatious cooperation with the Arabs, but nevertheless, in the last resort, to be exercised.’ The regimes that Britain had created were puppets, essentially law-and-order governments allied mainly with the traditional ruling classes of Islam. In turn, these favored sultans, emirs or monarchs saw British rule as providing protection against the dangers of instability or emancipatory nationalist movements that had begun to stir, notably in Iraq.

Saudi Arabia Is A British Creation


Excerpts from these articles are posted here.  In the interest of space, they may be arranged on the space slightly differently and pictures have been added.  You can link to the original articles by clicking on the titles.  

OLD CITIES, NEW EYES at the United Nations

England’s Institute of Digital Archaeology, based in Oxford.

The Institute for Digital Archaeology, in collaboration with the UK Permanent Mission to the United Nations, will open a new exhibition at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on the evening of August 6 2018.

The Exhibition will feature a VR experience of London through the Ages, in collaboration with London Based 3D modelers AccuCities, as well as a large scale 3D printed model of the city.

A corresponding photography exhibition will showcase images of Palmyra captured by French photographer Félix Bonfils in the 1860s alongside pictures of the site taken in summer 2018. The stark contrast between the images, taken more than 100 years apart, show the extent of the destruction in Palmyra, but also speak to the resilience of cultural heritage and its continued fascination and importance throughout the ages.

Vimeo/Video – click title link below to view

OLD CITIES, NEW EYES at the United Nations 

August 6 – 17th, 2018

The United Nations Headquarters, New York City
An IDA exhibition, in association with the UK Permanent Mission to the United Nations, featuring virtual reality experiences, state-of-the-art 3D modelling, and never-before-seen photographs. Showcasing the importance and fragility of cultural heritage through the lens of 200 years of imaging technology, the
exhibition takes as its subjects two vibrant, multicultural cities: the ancient
Syrian city of Palmyra and the city of London.
Through them, we highlight the importance of cultural heritage to our sense of personal and community identity and explore its power to
underline our shared humanity.



Britain and Islam–the real special relationship

“This country is fully Quran-compliant. And it has been since the Elizabethan era,”  –  

Shah Jahan Mosque

WOKING, ENGLAND – MARCH 2: A general view of the Shah Jahan Mosque on March 2, 2011 in Woking, England. The Shah Jahan, England’s first purpose-built Muslim place of worship, has become the only Grade I listed mosque in the UK, upgraded from its previous Grade II* listing. The Mosque was built in 1889 by Hungarian-British Jew and orientalist Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner. The mosque became the first formal place of Islamic worship in England and was famously used by Queen Victoria’s Indian secretary, Abdul Karim, when the Queen visited Windsor Castle. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
The first purpose-built mosque in Woking (image: Getty)

Spain was home to Andalusia, a Muslim empire for 700 years. The Germans, Poles, and Austrians saw off Turkish Muslim invaders in the Siege of Vienna in 1529 and then again at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. The French lived in the shadow of 732 and the Battle of Poitiers. Britain alone, cut off from Catholic Europe, forged a relationship with Muslims built on trade, the rule of law, mutual respect and an exchange of ideas and cultures. It would be a terrible shame to forget this friendship now.

It was Queen Elizabeth I who did more than anyone to cultivate this relationship. During the Reformation, what might be considered the first Brexit, England was isolated by Europe’s Catholic monarchs and, in 1570, Elizabeth was excommunicated by Pope Pius V. The Protestant Queen refused to bow to European intimidation so she found new and willing allies in the Muslim Ottomans, then a 400-year-old empire with territories in the Balkans, North Africa, central Asia and the Middle East.

Sultan Murad III wrote to Queen Elizabeth, issuing a new law for his subjects, that if ‘her agents and merchants shall come from the domain of Anletar by sea with their barks and with their ships, let no one interfere’. This imperial edict, the rule of law, facilitated British trade in Ottoman trades and ports.

Ottoman protection of British ships and commercial envoys helped England thrive despite the boycott by European powers. The consolidation of Protestantism, free trade, and free inquiry in England that led to the Enlightenment had something to do with the Ottoman-Elizabethan pact. By the end of her reign, English traders, diplomats, adventurers, and others lived or traveled through places such as Istanbul, Damascus, Fallujah, Aleppo, Raqqa, Algiers, Baghdad and Tripoli. The Queen was said to like Moroccan sugar so much that her teeth became quite black with decay.

The merchants who left England, writes the historian Jerry Brotton, transformed Elizabethan homes. The wealthy filled their houses with Turkish carpets, silk quilts and embroidered tapestries. The language of 16th-century England was filled with Arabic: ‘sugar’ from sukkar, ‘crimson’ from kirmiz, ‘tulip’ from tulband. The English fascination with Islam and Muslims did not end with the Elizabethans. In 1650, a Greek-Turk named Pasqua Rosee opened the first coffee house in the City of London. It was pious Muslims from Yemen who spread the drinking of coffee within the Ottoman Empire, to help believers stay awake at night for worship of Allah. In Arabic, qahwah, or kehve in Turkish, became ‘coffee’ in English. Samuel Pepys visited the coffee house in 1660 and wrote ‘the first time that ever I was there, and I found much pleasure in it’.

During the Victorian era, hundreds of thousands of Muslims served in the British armed forces. During the Crimean war, Ottoman Muslims fought together with the British against the Russians. It was in Constantinople that Florence Nightingale invented the art of nursing. Queen Victoria’s government was proud to remind the Ottoman sultan that she was an empress of more Muslims than he. Britain’s first purpose-built mosque was in 1889 in Woking, Surrey.

Most importantly, it was Queen Victoria’s patronage of and closeness to Munshi Abdul Karim that shows a warmth at the highest levels of British society towards Muslims. As part of the royal household, this pious Indian taught her Urdu, the poetry of Rumi, and gave her spiritual comfort. The 2017 feature film Victoria and Abdul captured some of the depth of that relationship.

Too often, too, we forget that half a million Muslims fought with Britain in the first world war and died in the trenches for God, King and Empire. That generation held these values worthy of the ultimate sacrifice.

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, almost four million Muslims from the Empire and then the Commonwealth have made Britain our home. The freedom to worship and thrive here in Britain is unmatched by any other country. It was this freedom that drew my Muslim parents to this country. The raison d’être of Islamic civilizations and the shariah for a thousand years was to provide five things: security, worship, preservation of the family, nourishment of the intellect and protection of property. These are called maqasid, or the higher objectives of the shariah. Britain provides these in multitudes for every Muslim today. There is no French tradition of laicité or hostility to Islam in modern British history.

Today’s Islamist fanatics, who see conspiracies here and long for a shariah state, are mad. This country is fully Quran–compliant. The Christian ethos that shaped Britain is a cause for celebration, not rejection. Today, ‘Islamophobia’ is a terrible oxymoron which allows many British Muslims to wallow in unwarranted victimhood. There is no phobia against Islam, simply against terrorism.

Rich in history, tradition, trade, the rule of law, education, and parliamentary democracy, this island still has much to offer to the world of Islam — if we can strengthen and not abandon our old friendship.

Ed Husain is author of The House of Islam: A Global History (Bloomsbury).



The Secret History of Elizabeth I’s Alliance With Islam 

Catholic Europe shunned England so the Protestant queen traded with its enemies—and changed her country’s culture forever.

IN 1570, ELIZABETH I was in a bind. She had been excommunicated by the Pope, and her country was shunned by the rest of Europe. To avoid ruin, England needed allies. The queen sought help from a surprising source: the Islamic world.

The Tudor period has supplied endless popular entertainments—from Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth movies to the television series The Tudorsbut this story has rarely been told. Jerry Brotton explores the forgotten history of English-Muslim alliances in his new book The Sultan and the Queen. Speaking from his home in Oxford, England, Brotton explains why Elizabeth believed Islam and Protestantism had more in common with each other than with Catholicism and how this cultural exchange may have inspired Shakespeare’s plays and turned the queen’s teeth black.

From Donald Trump to Brexit supporters, many Westerners view Muslims as a threat and want to close the borders. But 500 years ago, Queen Elizabeth I made alliances with the Shah of Iran and the Ottoman Sultan. What can Elizabeth I’s relations with the Islamic world teach us?

A lot. They can teach us that there’s a form of pragmatic exchange and toleration and accommodation, which trumps ideology. One of the key stories in the book is the issue of trade and the way trade collides with religions. The reason Queen Elizabeth develops this relationship with the Islamic world is theology initially. She’s establishing a Protestant state and England has become a pariah in Catholic Europe. So she reaches out for alliances with the Islamic world.

What flows from that is an exchange of trade and goods, regardless of sectarian and theological differences. Elizabeth is not reaching out to Sultan Murad III because she’s a nice person and wants religious accord. She is doing it for hard-nosed political and commercial reasons.

Elizabeth’s alliance with Murad III was essential to her self-preservation, yet this story has largely been left out of Tudor history. Why do you think that is?

In the last few years, there’s been a parochial identification of the Tudors, reflected in the way they have featured in recent TV shows, like The Tudors. It has become an index of Englishness, connected to whiteness and Christianity. But it never tells the wider story of what’s going on internationally. I started working on 16th-century maps and what the maps were telling me was that there was an exchange between the Islamic and Christian worlds, which wasn’t being told in the official histories.

Look at Tudor portraits. It’s all Orient pearls, silk from Iran, or cotton from the Ottoman territories. The English language changes, too. Words suddenly enter, like sugar, candy, crimson, turban, and tulip, which have Arabic or Persian roots. They all come in with the trade with the Islamic world.

Elizabeth did her best to convince Sultan Murad that Protestantism and Islam were two sides of the same coin and that the true heresy was Catholicism. I’m confused …

What she does very shrewdly, when she starts to write to the Sultan in 1579, is say: Look, you and I have many similarities in terms of our theology. We do not believe in idolatry or that you should have intercession, i.e., a saint or a priest will get you closer to God. Protestantism says you should read the Bible and then you will be in direct contact with God. Sunni Islam says the same: You have the Koran, the word of the Prophet, you do not need saints or icons.

Elizabeth is doing this politically. What she’s saying is, you’re fighting Spanish Catholicism; I’m fighting Spanish Catholicism. What nobody mentions, of course, is Christ. [Laughs] Islam believes Jesus is a prophet, but not the son of God. So in all the correspondence, they step around this issue. They always talk about the fact that they both believe in Jesus but not how they believe in Jesus.

The first recorded Muslim woman to enter Britain was called Aura Soltana. She has an amazing story, doesn’t she?

She does. Another extraordinary figure, Anthony Jenkins, one of the earliest Englishmen to establish diplomatic and commercial connections with Persia, is on his way back to England, traveling up the Volga River, in what we now call Greater Russia. In Astrakhan, he buys this woman, Aura Soltana. It’s not clear whether this is a slave name or the name of the place she’s come from, but he takes her back to England.

At around this time, a similar figure is established as a lady-in-waiting in Elizabeth’s court. If it’s the same person—and I believe it is—she becomes a kind of fashion adviser to the queen, telling Elizabeth how to wear certain kinds of shoes or materials. Her exotic background made her exactly the kind of person to whom Elizabeth could say, “Oh, you’ve just come back from Moscow, what are the latest catwalk fashions?”

The subject of this painting by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger may have been the first Muslim woman known to enter England. PHOTOGRAPH BY THE PRINT COLLECTOR, GETTY

There’s a tantalizing painting of an anonymous woman by Marcus Gheeraerts, called The Persian Lady, which some people speculate is of this woman. She’s dressed in a very opulent, oriental fashion. It could be our lady Aura Soltana, a slave who ends up in Elizabeth’s bedroom, dressing her. It’s an amazing story.

Among other goods, English merchants imported over 250 tons of Moroccan sugar into London every year. Is it true Elizabeth’s love of sugar turned her teeth black?

Yes! [Laughs] We have accounts by European travelers, who describe Elizabeth as a small woman with blackened teeth from eating so many sweetmeats and candies. The predominant importation of sugar at that time was from what we would now call Morocco, as a result of Elizabeth’s Anglo-Islamic alliance with the Saadian Dynasties. It’s quite ironic. The Moroccans are fighting the Spanish while Moroccan sugar is destroying Elizabeth’s teeth, and English armaments are helping the Moroccans kill other Christians. [Laughs] Elizabeth liked anything sweet. Candied fruit was a big thing. Everything is just steeped in sugar!

Today, ISIS forcibly converts non-believers. Elizabethan merchant Samson Rowlie experienced a similar fate, didn’t he?

He did. The issue of conversion with somebody like him is fascinating. He’s a merchant from Great Yarmouth, in Norfolk, who travels on an English commercial venture in 1577 to the eastern Mediterranean. Turkish pirates capture him. He is castrated, turned into a eunuch, and taken to Algiers. He converts, takes the name Hasan Agar, and becomes the chief eunuch and treasurer of the head of the Ottoman-controlled city of Algiers! The English write to him about ten years later, about issues of trade. They say, “We believe you are probably still a Protestant. Would you like to come back?” Rowlie replies, “No way! I have a palace in Algeria. It’s nice weather here. Why would I want to go back to Great Yarmouth?” [Laughs]

You have many similar stories of people converting to Islam or, in the language of the time, “turning Turk.” It’s relevant to the current situation in the Middle East because, invariably, it’s Christians and Protestants who are embracing Islam, not the other way around. There are accounts of people who willingly embrace Islam because, in contrast to the way in which we see that culture today, the Muslim world is seen as tolerant and embracing difference.

Murad III, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, wrote letters to Elizabeth that were dusted in gold. PHOTOGRAPH BY HERITAGE IMAGE PARTNERSHIP LTD, ALAMY

You write that “London’s playhouses were in the grip of a fascination for staging scenes and characters from Islamic history.” How was this reflected in Shakespeare’s plays?

Shakespeare is fascinated by Moors, particularly. He’s also using the language of Turks and Persians throughout his plays. One of the earliest plays he writes, which we usually date around 1592, is Titus Andronicus. The main agent of evil, the baddie, in that play is called Aaron. He is described as a blackamore, which means he’s from northwest Africa, from the Barbary States. He causes all the chaos: bloody rape, pillage, mutilation, absolutely awful! People say, “Oh, that’s the predominant view of the Muslim in this period.”

Four or five years later, Shakespeare writes The Merchant of Venice. Another Moor pops up there called the Prince of Morocco. He’s a rather benign, elegant figure who’s a suitor to Portia, the heroine of the play. So Shakespeare is playing with different versions of these Muslim, Moorish characters. You get the evil Aaron and the rather noble Prince of Morocco.

Around 1601 Shakespeare then writes Othello, which draws on both versions. He is the irrational, violent, racist figure of the black man. He’s also this very elegant, powerful military commander: The Moor of Venice. Shakespeare is not moralizing. He’s drawing on this history of Anglo-Islamic relations to say, who is this man? Do we trust him? He might save us but he might also kill us all in our beds.

Post 9/11, it is one of the most frequently performed tragedies because of the complexity of its relationship with religion and ethnicity, which we are now seeing in North Africa and the Middle East. It’s become about much more than simply a black man destroyed by a white man.

Prince Charles laughs with Muslim students in Bradford, the city in northern England where author Jerry Brotton grew up. PHOTOGRAPH BY PHIL NOBLE, REUTER

You grew up in one of England’s most multicultural cities, Bradford, in Yorkshire. Talk about your early life—and how it inspired your interest in this subject.

For me, it is profoundly personal because I am not from an elite background. My father was a deep-sea fisherman; my mum was a barmaid. I went to a state school just outside Bradford, where I was born. There was a multiculturalism we embraced, which was my version of Englishness. I played cricket with Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims; we were in the same religious studies classes. Post 9/11 and 7/7, when London was attacked, it was a real shock for me. What had gone wrong? Growing up at that point, those issues of sectarian differences were never in play.

What was the biggest surprise for you in researching this story, Jerry?

Following characters traveling through a world that is now in meltdown. They’re moving through places currently under control of the so-called Islamic state. What they’re doing at that point is encountering an Islamic world that is powerful, sophisticated, and superior to the culture that produced them: Protestant English culture. There’s an attempt to understand and accommodate and to get on with each other.

That was the real shock and surprise for me, in a good way. There are Elizabethan Englishmen talking about the distinction between Sunni and Shia in the 1560s when many people today don’t understand the distinction. So, hopefully, the book is one little attempt to offer another kind of story of toleration and accommodation.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Simon Worrall curates Book Talk. Follow him on Twitter or at simonworrallauthor.com.

The Queen of England, Elizabeth II, is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, according to a Moroccan newspaper that claimed to trace the monarch’s genealogy back to the founder of Islam.

The theory first surfaced in the late 1980s when a genealogy guide for the monarchy alleged that the Queen was related to the Muslim Kings who ruled Spain from around 711 until 1492.

“It is little known by the British people that the blood of Mohammed flows in the veins of the queen,” Harold Brooks-Baker, an authority on the British monarchy and the publisher of the royal genealogical guide, wrote to Britain’s then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1986.

“However, all Moslem religious leaders are proud of this fact,” Brooks-Baker added.

Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan accompanies Queen Elizabeth II, to Shaikh Zayed Mosque during the Monarch’s second state visit to UAE since 1979. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque on November 24, 2010, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. A theory from the 1980s claims the Queen is a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. CHRIS JACKSON/GETTY IMAGES

The claim gained little attention in the West over the subsequent decades. But Assahifa Al-Ousbouia, a weekly Arabic-language newspaper in Morocco, called attention to the theory again this week by publishing a family tree that claimed to trace the Queen’s lineage from Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn Abbad, the first independent ruler of Seville in what was then the territory of Al-Andalus in Spain.

According to the chart published in Morocco and translated by the British press, Muhammad ibn Abbad is a great-grandchild of the Prophet Muhammad, who died in 632 in what is now Saudi Arabia. The line between the Prophet Mohammad, ibn Abbad and Elizabeth II thus links the current monarch with the founder of one of the three monotheistic religions, according to the newspaper.

Historians have suggested that the connection is possible but not entirely irrefutable. Marriages between Spanish and British royals have been common throughout the centuries, and both the British and Spanish royal families descend from Queen Victoria. Brooks-Baker appears to have connected the Queen to the prophet through a princess named Zaida, a grandchild of ibn Abbad who converted to Christianity and became the concubine of King Alfonso VI of Castile.

But some historians suggest that the connection between Zaida and the prophet is murky and unverified. And Brooks-Baker was himself a controversial figure known for making contentious statements that were often refuted by the British monarchy.

“Regularly quoted by reporters, Mr. Brooks-Baker’s opinions on the British monarchy were characteristically American in their no-holds-barred approach,” his obituary published in the New York Times read.

“An adroit publicist, Mr. Brooks-Baker often beat the reporters to the punch, issuing a public statement in response to the slightest royal transgression. This kept him extremely busy,” the obituary continued.

Stephen Tempest

Stephen Tempest, MA Modern History, University of Oxford (1985)

It must be noted, however, that many of our sources from the Dark Ages are disputed or unclear, so it is not possible to make any absolute statements.

The key connections are these:

In 1023, Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn Abbad became the ruler of Seville in al-Andalus. He was formerly a qadi (judge) appointed by the Caliph of Cordoba, but seized power and formed his own dynasty, the Abbadids. He was a descendant of Muhammad through his daughter Fatima and grandson Hasan ibn Ali.

In 1091 the Almoravids from Morocco invaded Muslim Spain, and his grandson Al-Mu’tamid ibn Abbad lost his throne. His daughter Zaida fled north and took refuge at the court of King Alfonso VI of Leon. She became his mistress – the king was already married, but his wife was bedridden with illness. Zaida later converted to Christianity, took the baptismal name Isabella and – once the king’s previous wife died – married him, bearing him three children that we know of.

In 1352 Maria de Padilla,  a descendant of Zaida and Alfonso became the mistress of King Peter ‘the Cruel’ of Castille. They had four children – two of the daughters married sons of King Edward III of England. It is from Isabella of Castille and Edmund, Duke of York that the current Queen of the UK is descended.

Here’s the ancestry in full:

Elizabeth II, Queen of the UK – daughter of
George VI, King of the UK – son of
George V, King of the UK – son of
Edward VII, King of the UK – son of
Victoria, Queen of the UK – daughter of
Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn – son of
George III, King of Great Britain – son of
Frederick, Prince of Wales – son of
George II, King of Great Britain – son of
George I, King of Great Britain – son of
Sophia, Electress of Hanover – daughter of
Elizabeth of Bohemia – daughter of
James I/VI, King of England, Ireland & Scotland – son of
Mary, Queen of Scots – daughter of
James V, King of Scots – son of
Margaret Tudor – daughter of
Elizabeth of York – daughter of
Edward IV, King of England – son of
Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York – son of
Richard of Conisburgh, Earl of Cambridge – son of
Isabella Perez of Castille – daughter of
Maria Juana de Padilla – daughter of
Maria Fernandez de Henestrosa – daughter of
Aldonza Ramirez de Cifontes – daughter of
Aldonza Gonsalez Giron – daughter of
Sancha Rodriguez de Lara – daughter of
Rodrigo Rodriguez de Lara – son of
Sancha Alfonsez, Infanta of Castile – daughter of
Zaida (aka Isabella) – daughter of
Al-Mu’tamid ibn Abbad, King of Seville – son of
Abbad II al-Mu’tadid, King of Seville – son of
Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn Abbad, King of Seville – son of
Ismail ibn Qarais – son of
Qarais ibn Abbad – son of
Abbad ibn Amr – son of
Amr ibn Aslan – son of
Aslan ibn Amr – son of
Amr ibn Itlaf – son of
Itlaf ibn Na’im – son of
Na’im II al-Lakhmi – son of
Na’im al-Lakhmi – son of
Zahra bint Husayn – daughter of
Husayn ibn Hasan – son of
Hasan ibn Ali – son of
Fatima – daughter of
Muhammad (pbuh)

Prince Charles of Arabia

RONNI L. GORDON AND DAVID M. STILLMAN Middle East Quarterly Volume 4: Number 3
JUNE 01, 1997

The future Charles III has made several strong public statements endorsing Islam as the solution to the spiritual and cultural ills of Britain and the West. His public advocacy of Islam appears to go back to 1989, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued an edict (fatwa) against Salman Rushdie, a British citizen, for blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad in his novel The Satanic Verses.6 Rather than defend Rushdie’s freedom of speech, Charles reacted to the death decree by reflecting on the positive features that Islam has to offer the spiritually empty lives of his countrymen.

Charles first delivered a major address on Islam on October 27, 1993, at the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford where he is a vice patron of the Centre for Islamic Studies.7 He declared that the usual attitude to Islam “suffers because the way we understand it has been hijacked by the extreme and the superficial. To many of us in the West, Islam is seen in terms of the tragic civil war in Lebanon, the killings and bombings perpetrated by extremist groups in the Middle East, and by what is commonly referred to as “Islamic fundamentalism.”

Charles considers Christianity inadequate to the task of spiritual restoration and denigrates science for having caused the West to lose its spiritual moorings. Echoing a common Muslim theme, he declares that “Western civilization has become increasingly acquisitive and exploitive in defiance of our environmental responsibilities.” Instead, he praises the “Islamic revival” of the 1980s and portrays Islam as Britain’s salvation:

In addition to these comments on Islam, Charles has taken steps to give that religion a special status. For example, he set up a panel of twelve “wise men” (in fact, eleven men and one woman) to advise him on Islamic religion and culture.11 This caused much talk, especially as the group was reported to have met in secret. Some noted that no comparable body exists to inform the crown prince about other faiths practiced in his future realm.   (This is what OBUMA was doing, here in the United States when he was in the Whitehouse)

Sheik Charles of England? More evidence of his Muslim conversion as Prince comes to US to teach Americans about Islam

November 1, 2005

The Associated Press Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

“…John Casey of Cambridge University, warns that the British public lacks a clear understanding of Charles’s standing in the Muslim world:

The extent to which the Prince is admired by Muslims-even to the point of hero-worship-has not yet sunk into the consciousness of the British public…

Casey concludes that the prince of Wales’s “hero status” in the Arab world is permanent. “No other Western figure commands this sort of admiration.” (see complete MEQ article below http://www.meforum.org/article/356).

MIM: After the 9/11 attacks in which Americans learned everything they needed to know about Islam, Prince Charles told Muslims that Americans sounded “too confrontational”, and that ‘don’t have sufficient appreciation of Islam and it’s culture’. Now that his country has become the target of homegrown Islamist terrorism, and the statement “There there always be an England” is now a rhetorical question , Charles has come to the US on a mission to teach Americans and President Bush to appreciate Islamic practices even more.

Prince Charles started his visit at Ground Zero – which hr used as a visual aid to sustain his contention that the attacks were the work of 19 hijackers and “should not do anything to tarnish the reputation of Muslims”.

The Arab press totally ignored this part of the visit and gushed about his Islamic propagation efforts with such headlines as:

Prince Charles to Explain Islam to American Public Journal of Turkish Weekly
Prince Charles to Try to Convince US President of Merits of Islam Iranian Quran News Agencyl

Prince Charles, a would-be Muslim? Daniel Pipes

Prince Charles Pitches Islam

England’s Prince Charles (search) thinks America has been too intolerant of Islam since 9-11 and the London Telegraph reports that he’ll sell that argument to the president during his upcoming visit.
Two months after the 2001 terrorist attacks, Prince Charles told Muslim leaders, “I find the language and rhetoric coming from America too confrontational” and said Americans don’t have a sufficient appreciation of Islam and its culture.

Prince Charles is expected to expound upon the virtues of the religion when he meets with President Bush later this week.

MIM: Evidence has been mounting for years that Prince Charles is a convert to Islam. In a 1993 interview Prince Charlessaid that if he became King of England he did not want to take the title of ‘Defender of the Faith’, and wanted to be called “The Defender of Faith”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury responded to Charle’s attempt at historical revisionism of a 5 centuries old tradition by stating that : “…like it or not, (he is) Defender of the Faith and has a relationship with the Christian church which he does not have with other faith communions….

A 1997 article in the Middle East Quarterly documented the evidence which lead to the conclusion that Prince Charles was a convert to Islam.

Which begs the question as to if he does ascend the throne – the United Kingdom will be renamed The United Khalifate .

Prince Charles devotion to Islam and championing of Muslim causes in the UK (aka Da’wa), is now manifesting itself in his self proclaimed role as ambassador for Islam in the US.

MIM :Dr. Daniel Pipes has more on Prince Charles’ role as Britain’s royal ‘Defender of the Islamic Faith’ http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/119

Is Prince Charles a Convert to Islam?
November 9, 2003

Is Prince Charles a Convert to Islam? In a 1997 Middle East Quarterly article titled “Prince Charles of Arabia,” Ronni L. Gordon and David M. Stillman looked at evidence that Britain’s Prince Charles might be a secret convert to Islam. They shifted through his public statements (defending Islamic law, praising the status of Muslim women, seeing in Islam a solution for Britain’s ailments) and actions (setting up a panel of twelve “wise men” to advise him on Islamic religion and culture), then concluded that, “should Charles persist in his admiration of Islam and defamation of his own culture,” his accession to the throne will indeed usher in a “different kind of monarchy.”

All this comes to mind on reading an article titled “Charles Breaks Fast with the Faithful in Muscat” in today’s Dubai-based Gulf News, which reports on some of Charles’ activities during his current five-day visit to Oman:

He toured the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque for almost two hours and “took keen interest in studying various sections at the mosque, including the main prayer hall.” As his spokesman put it, “The Prince was particularly keen to come to the mosque today to see the fantastic building and remarkable architecture which Prince was fascinated with. The Prince has a great love for Islamic architecture and I can’t think of finer example than this mosque.”

  • He “spent a considerable time at an exhibition of Islamic calligraphy and held meetings with Sheikha Aisha Al Siaby, Head of Public Authority for Craft Industries and Taha Al Kisri, the Head of Omani Society for Fine Arts to discuss various aspects of Islamic art.”
  • He “broke fast with a large congregation of people from different nationalities as he sat with folded legs on the floor in the open. He ate date and drank juice at the call of Iftar.”

None of this, of course, is evidence that the Heir to the British Throne has changed religions, but his actions most certainly would be consistent with such a move, and especially the implication that he had kept the Ramadan fast. (November 9, 2003)

Dec. 18, 2004 update: Prince Charles put himself in the middle of an Islamic theological issue that again could suggest his conversion to Islam – for if that is not the case, then on what basis does he opine on the Islamic law requiring that apostates from Islam be executed? Jonathan Petre of London’s Daily Telegraph reports on a private summit of Christian and Muslim leaders at Clarence House on this topic sponsored earlier in December by the prince. Apparently, however, he did not get the results he hoped for, with one Christian participant indicating that Charles was “very, very unhappy” about its outcome. That may have been because the Muslims at the meeting resented his public involvement in this topic.

July 14, 2005 update: And what does the good prince have to say about the murder by Islamists of 55 in London a week ago? He put fingers to keyboard and produced “True Muslims Must Root Out The Extremists” for the Mirror.

some deeply evil influence has been brought to bear on these impressionable young minds. … Some may think this cause is Islam. It is anything but. It is a perversion of traditional Islam. As I understand it, Islam preaches humanity, tolerance and a sense of community. … these acts have nothing to do with any true faith. … it is vital that everyone resists the temptation to condemn the Muslim community for the actions of such a tiny and evil minority. If we succumb to that temptation, the bombers will have achieved their aim. Likewise, in my view, it is the duty of every true Muslim to condemn these atrocities and root out those among them who preach and practise such hatred and bitterness. 

(Obviously, Charles needs to read his Koran!  Heaven’s just the evidence left behind everywhere the Muslims go should be enough.  Use your eyes and your mind. It is the peace loving Muslims who are the exeption, and who choose to ignore the directives of the Koran to KILL ALL INFIDELS!)

Comment: This sounds to me like the same apologetics churned out by the Muslim Council of Britain and other Islamist bodies.

Aug. 2, 2005 update: At the funeral of King Fahd in Riyadh, the Associated Press reports, “Non-Muslims were not allowed at the ceremonies.” So far as I can tell, Charles did not attend the ceremonies. (There surely would have been a press uproar if he had.) We can conclude that whatever his inner faith, he is not presenting himself as a Muslim in public.

Sep. 4, 2005 update: Prince Charles revealed in a letter leaked to the Daily Telegraph that he had strained relations with George Carey, then archbishop of Canterbury, over his attitude toward Islam. Particularly contentious was his expressed intent, on becoming king and supreme governor of the Church of England, to ditch the centuries’ old defender of the faith title and replace it with defender of faith and defender of the Divine. The letter reveals the archbishop’s reaction.

I wish you’d been there for the archbishop! Didn’t really appreciate what I was getting at by talking about “the Divine” and felt that I had said far more about Islam than I did about Christianity – and was therefore worried about my development as a Christian.

According to royal aides, Charles did not much respect Lord Carey’s views and the feelings were reciprocated.

Oct. 29, 2005 update: “Prince Charles to plead Islam’s cause to Bush” reads the Sunday Telegraph headline. The text by Andrew Alderson tells how the prince of Wales

will try to persuade George W Bush and Americans of the merits of Islam this week because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since September 11. The Prince, who leaves on Tuesday for an eight-day tour of the US, has voiced private concerns over America’s “confrontational” approach to Muslim countries and its failure to appreciate Islam’s strengths.

Apparently, he “wants Americans – including Mr Bush – to share his fondness for Islam.

The Globalists and the Islamists:

Fomenting the “Clash of Civilizations” for a New World Order

Part One: The British, the Middle East and Radical Islam


As the American government, led by the Bush Administration, fights its so-called “War On Terror” with plans to invade and overthrow Iraq, America’s steadfast ally in this endeavor continues to be the British government of Tony Blair. The following study will take a look at the history of the region that America has become entangled in, a region that used to be, and to some degree still is, almost entirely controlled by Britain. Is this current “War On Terror” truly a war to bring freedom to the region and to promote traditional American ideals, or is it a power-play to solidify global American hegemony? And what does Britain have to gain?

Britain appears to be our greatest ally but it must be understood that British geo-strategists are the masters of political manipulation and subversion. Even as the physical British colonial empire was declining in the first half of this century they were already building the framework for a completely global empire based on the legacy of Cecil Rhodes utilizing the resources of the super-capitalists and financiers of New York and London. These elites may be predominantly British and American in nationality, but they reject democracy and the American Constitution and work against the best interests of British, American and international citizens. By studying the history of the Middle East, and the elitist manipulation of it, we can perhaps predict what is to come after this last final push of the American Empire.–

  1. Britain Takes the Middle EastII.Britain and EgyptIII. The Overthrow of Iran’s First DemocracyIV. The British War Against Nasser V. Islam Turns Against the West VI. Afghanistan, Pakistan, the ISI, and the BCCI

As documented in F. William Engdahl’s book A Century of War – Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order, Britain’s interest in the Middle East was piqued when her leaders realized that oil would replace coal as the energy source of the future. At the turn of the century, Britain had no first-hand access to oil and was dependant upon America, Russia or Mexico for her supplies. This was quickly understood as an unacceptable situation and through intrigues involving British spy Sidney Reilly and Australian geologist and engineer William Knox, D’Arcy Britain was able to secure drilling rights to Persian oil from Persian monarch Reza Khan. D’Arcy paid what amounted to $20,000 cash for rights to tap Persian oil until 1961, with a 16% royalty from all sales going to the Shah. The British company that Reilly persuaded d’Arcy to ally with then became known as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, which was a forerunner of the mighty British Petroleum (BP).

However, even with a supply of Persian oil, Britain was losing the race to secure Middle Eastern oil reserves to the Germans. In the years prior to World War I Germany had enjoyed an astonishing economic explosion and this was helped by her alliance with the Ottoman Empire which allowed her access to their vast reserves. In 1889 the Germans worked out an agreement to finance, through Deutsche Bank, a railway from Constantinople into Anatolia, and later in 1899, the final agreement for a complete Berlin-to-Baghdad railway was signed.

The British made sure that this rail link was never completed through the use of her ally Serbia, which stood in the middle of the German alliance that included Austro-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire. World War I is commonly understood as sparked by the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand by Serbian assassins. Serbia did play a key part in World War I, but the conflict was not simply a result of this solitary event. The truth is that World War I was fomented by the British so that they could control oil, foreseen by their geo-strategists as the world’s most important emerging resource. (1)

In 1916, at the height of World War I, the British worked out an agreement with France, Italy, and Russia known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement that carved up the Ottoman Empire into Western colonies. This secret agreement created the arbitrary boundaries of what are today the countries of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Kuwait. Britain would control the oil-rich Persian Gulf through Iraq and Kuwait and would also receive Palestine and Jordan. France would receive Syria and Lebanon, Italy was promised parts of Anatolia and some Mediterranean islands and Russia was to get parts of Armenia and Kurdistan.

During the war, Britain diverted more than 1.4 million troops from the Western Front to fight the Ottomans in the east. While the French lost 1.5 million dead and suffered 2.6 million wounded in the trenches the British gained victory after victory in the Middle East. After the war ended the British continued to maintain over a million troops in the area, and in 1918 the British General Allenby found that he was the de-facto military dictator over almost the entire Arab Middle East. (2)

While T.E. Lawrence was directing the Arab revolt against the Ottomans on behalf of the British he had assured his Arab allies that Britain would honor their desires for independence, but after the war, these promises were ignored. During the war the famous Balfour Declaration was also given. It was a letter between Lord Balfour and Lord Rothschild that promised official British endorsement of a Jewish state in Palestine. The plain fact is that the Arabs were cheated, betrayed and used in a British drive to gain control of the region that contained the world’s largest known oil reserves.

In the fight against the Ottoman Empire, the British gained the support of two important Arab leaders. The first was Hussein I of the Hashemite dynasty, a dynasty that traced a direct lineage back to the prophet Mohammed. He was the ruler of the Hijaz area that included Mecca and Medina and the British hyped his “holy” status to maximize his popular support. The second prominent Arab leader that the British eventually brought into the fold was Ibn Saud, the leader of the tribal Wahhabi sect of central Arabia. Ibn Saud used his British financing to enhance his position as a religious figure and to buy the support of the Bedouins.

After the Ottomans were defeated and the Sykes-Picot and Balfour Agreements were revealed Hussein I realized the treachery that had defeated him and he abdicated his throne. His three sons Ali, Faisal and Abdallah then tried their luck at Arab rule.

Prince Ali took over the Hijaz but lost it in 1925 in his clash with the forces of the British-supported Ibn Saud. The Saudis have ruled Arabia ever since. The biggest mistake Britain made was losing interest in the Saudis and the Arabian deserts, allowing Standard Oil of California to come in and purchase the rights to search for oil in Saudi Arabia for $250,000 in 1933 (3). Since that time the Saudi royal family has enjoyed a very special relationship with the United States.

Prince Faisal, who had worked with T.E. Lawrence and conquered Damascus from the Ottomans,  made a claim to rule French-governed Syria in 1920, but the French ended this attempt after just four months. Faisal then retreated to Britain and a year later he was recycled when he, a Sunni prince, was given the predominantly Shia territory of Iraq to govern as king. Faisal I ruled until his death in 1933. His son Ghazi ruled Iraq until he died in 1939, followed by Ghazi’s son Faisal II, the last king of Iraq, who was killed in a military coup in 1958.

The Hashemite dynasty continues to this day only through the third of our trio of Hussein’s sons. Prince Abdallah was given the land of Trans-Jordan to govern in 1921 and as king, he maintained a strong pro-British stance, despite the treachery displayed to his father. Abdallah understood that there was no future in contradicting his masters, and the British used him to check the fury of his own population as the British desire to establish a Jewish state in Israel came into focus. King Abdallah was killed in the Al Aqsa Mosque in 1951, and his sixteen-year-old grandson Hussein took the throne. King Hussein ruled until his death in 1999, and his son King Abdullah now rules the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

The main point that must be understood from the historical record, as it relates to the main focus of this article, is the cynical manner in which the religion of Islam has been used by the British Empire to further British political goals. In the book by Arab historian Said Aburish, A Brutal Friendship – The West and the Arab Elite, the author identifies three distinct phases of Islam’s relationship with the West within the 20th Century. (4)

The first phase, according to Aburish, was the phase immediately after World War I. The Arab leaders had been cheated and betrayed, but they were still dependant upon the British to allow them any type of rule over the Arab masses.

Ibn Saud was the leader of the Wahhabi sect, and the British acknowledged his influence as a religious figure and funded his conquest of all of Arabia.

The Hashemites were the strongest traditional Arab force, but their back was broken when Ibn Saud threw them out of Mecca and Medina. In their “pity” the British then placed Abdallah and Faisal over Jordan and Iraq. These Hashemite princes were outsiders, to say the least, but the British played the religion card for all it was worth and justified their actions to the Arab people through the Hashemite lineage that traced back to Mohammed. Certainly any Arab would be happy to be ruled by a “holy” clan like the Hashemites!

The British used Islam in Palestine as well when, in 1921, they engineered the election of their choice, Haj Amin Husseini, a descendant of Mohammed, to the post of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. In Palestine, almost all of the elite Arab families quickly found it profitable to be pro-British, and the Grand Mufti maintained this stance as well, at least up until 1936 when the imminent establishment of a Jewish Israel forced him to finally support the desires of his people. (5)

Regarding the first phase of Islam’s relationship with the West, Aburish writes, “All political leadership of the time depended on Islam for legitimacy and all political leaders were pro-British. Islam was a tool to legitimize the rule, tyranny, and corruption of Arab leaders. To the West, Islam was acceptable; it could be and was used.” (6)

This phase of elitist domination of the Arab people, using Islam as the legitimizing factor, could not continue indefinitely. The force that rose up to counter it was secular Arab nationalism and it eventually revolved around the person of Gamal Abd-al Nasser of Egypt. This movement sought to free the Middle East from Western domination and at the same time it was cynical of the Islam that had been used so successfully to prop up and justify elitist rule. We will identify the second phase of Western-Islamic relations that began with the rise of Arab nationalism, but first we must take a brief historical look at Egypt

  1. Britain and Egypt

By the beginning of World War I, Egypt had been controlled by Britain for more than thirty years. While the British used Islam to topple the Ottomans and prop up their client states outside of Egypt, within Egypt they found that Islam was not such a malleable asset, at least not while Britain remained as the colonizer.

Western influence over Egypt began in 1798 when Napoleon invaded Egypt to threaten Britain’s trade routes to India. This was the first major and decisive conquest of an Arab Muslim nation in the history of Islam and marked the beginning of a slow decline in Muslim pride and influence. Napoleon’s rule didn’t last long, however, because the British temporarily allied with the Ottomans to throw the French out after only a few years.

Out of the chaos emerged an Albanian commander of the Ottoman army named Mohammed Ali, who helped to drive out the British, afterwards becoming governor of Egypt under Ottoman authority. Ali neutralized the native Mamluke threat and then turned his attention to modernizing Egypt. After Ali died his successors Abbas, and then Said Pasha ruled Egypt. Said Pasha started the Suez Canal, and then his successor Khedive Ismail finished it in 1869. The canal was financed primarily by French investors, but by this time France was firmly controlled by Britain. After that, the British influence in Egypt slowly became stronger and stronger and was initially done not militarily but economically. The British “free-trade” ideology was adopted and Egyptian manufacturing and industry suffered. Egypt soon found itself deep in debt.

In 1879 Ismail was forced from power and was eventually succeeded by his son Tewfiq Pasha who finally gave up and effectively ceded complete control of the Egyptian economy over to the British. In 1882 British troops landed and completed the takeover of Egypt. They would occupy Egypt until 1956 when they were finally expelled by President Nasser.

At the beginning of World War I, the Khedive Abbas perceived a chance to shake off the British and he urged popular support for the Ottomans. The British quickly deposed him and placed his uncle Hussein Kamil in power. After the war was over nationalist forces within Egypt waged a continuous campaign against the British occupiers for independence, even lobbying for international recognition for independence in Paris, but their desires were dashed when the United States sided with Britain.

In 1922 the British repealed the “Protectorate Status” over Egypt, but they maintained responsibility for Egypt’s “defense” and for protection of foreigners within Egypt. Egypt was said to have achieved “independence” and King Fouad I, descendent of Mohammed Ali, took power, although British occupation continued.

In 1928 the “Muslim Brotherhood” was founded by an Egyptian schoolteacher named Hasan al-Banna. The Brotherhood was a religious secret society known publicly for its emphasis on Islamic education and for its charitable activities. Prior to World War II British Intelligence cultivated ties with the Brotherhood through agent Freya Stark, the British adventurer and writer (1). These covert connections were used to keep track of the growing German presence in North Africa and to stay informed of the many different political movements that were springing up. The Muslim Brotherhood spread throughout the Muslim world and has evolved into something like a Muslim equivalent of the West’s Masonic brotherhood. It became one of the first Islamic Fundamentalist terror organizations and will crop up often in this study.

In the years prior to World War II Egyptian intrigues revolved around the three main camps of the British, who did all they could to maintain control over their colony and the Suez Canal, the Royalists allied with King Fouad, and after 1935 his son King Farouk, and the nationalist Wafd party that was supported by the people through the Egyptian parliament that had been set up by the British.

When World War II broke out the Wafd party, at least publicly, supported the allies because they were led to believe that complete independence would immediately follow the war. King Farouk, however, was more reserved in his support for the allies and privately held deep axis sympathies, while many rank-and-file members of the Muslim Brotherhood were known to favor Germany as well. Germany was not destined to free Egypt from the British, however, and the axis’ North African army was defeated at the Battle of El-Alamein in October 1942 and then gradually pushed out of Africa.

After the war both the Muslim Brotherhood and the populist Wafd Party agitated against the repressive monarchy of King Farouk and against the British who delayed their pullout from Egyptian territory. In 1949 Hasan al-Banna was assassinated by the Egyptian government, enraging the fundamentalists even more. In 1952 the Wafd Party won a great victory in Parliamentary elections and in the aftermath Prime Minister Nahas Pasha repealed the 1936 agreement that had been made between Farouk and the British allowing British control of the Suez Canal. Farouk promptly dismissed Nahas Pasha and widespread violent anti-British riots ensued. A secret cabal of high-level Egyptian Army officers, calling themselves the Free Officers, seized this opportunity and staged a coup, taking over the country and throwing out King Farouk.

The Free Officers were led by General Muhammad Naguib and included Gamal Abd-al Nasser and Anwar al-Sadat. In the aftermath, Naguib was removed and Nasser emerged as the man in power in 1954. He promptly banned the Wafd Party as well as the Muslim Brotherhood and began to rule as a firm dictator.

Nasser was quick and bold in his moves to modernize and industrialize Egypt and to assert his nation’s independence. He reached out to the United States and to the World Bank to help him finance the construction of the Aswan Dam, but he was denied and forced to turn to the Soviets. He also sought to improve his army and was offered Western armaments but on condition that he commit his country to the British-controlled regional military alliances. Nasser declined and signed an arms deal with Czechoslovakia in 1955.

On July 26, 1956, Nasser evicted the British from the Suez Canal Zone, returning it to total Egyptian control for the first time since 1882. Three months later the Suez War began. Israel took over Gaza in five days and British and French troops took over the Canal Zone. The United Nations condemned the action and a cease-fire was agreed to on November 6. The Canal was then returned to Egypt.

In the aftermath of this war, Nasser became a hero to the Arab people and secular nationalist movements sprang up throughout the Middle East. Egypt merged with Syria forming the United Arab Republic in 1958, and then (North) Yemen federated with them as well. This pan-Arab movement was loved by the Arab masses but feared by their leaders. Aburish writes,

“In the 1950s and later, the West opposed the secular Arab nationalist movement for two reasons: it challenged its regional hegemony and threatened the survival of its clients’ leaders and countries. Specifically, there was nothing to stop a secular movement from cooperating with the USSR; in fact, most of them were mildly socialist. Furthermore, most secular movements advocated various schemes of Arab unity, a union or a unified policy, which threatened and undermined the pro-West traditional regimes of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and other client states. The West saw it as a challenge that had to be met.” (2)

This brings us to the second phase of Western-Islamic relations as defined by Aburish. It is a period during which the West used Islamic Fundamentalism as a tool to destabilize or topple the regimes that refused to be dominated by the West.

III. The Overthrow of Iran’s First Democracy

From the beginning, America’s Central Intelligence Agency has maintained a very close relationship with British intelligence and this is proven by the details of the Mossadegh coup in Iran in 1953, which marked the beginning of the second phase.

Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh was a lifelong leader of the Iranian nationalist movement against the imperialism of the British Empire. Born into Iran’s ruling class he was elected to the Iranian parliament in 1906, but turned down the post because, legally, he was to young (being not yet 30). He received his education in France and Switzerland and received his law doctorate in 1913. He returned to Iran and served as a university professor, deputy Finance Minister and Minister of Justice prior to the British-backed coup of 1921 which placed Shah Reza Khan back in power.

In the following years, Mossadegh served the Iranian people in a number of different capacities, finally being forcibly removed from public service near the end of Reza Khan’s reign due to his criticism of the corrupt regime. In 1941 the government changed again and Reza Khan was forced to flee to South Africa, where he lived until he died. Mossadegh was then able to return to Tehran, where he was active in the Parliament, clashing with Reza Khan’s son Mohammad Reza Shah.

After fighting through a great deal of interference and fraud Mossadegh was elected as Iran’s Prime Minister by the Iranian Parliament in 1951. On May 1, in one of his first actions as Prime Minister, Mossadegh nationalized Iranian oil, taking it over from the British owned Anglo-Persian Oil Company. The British had bought control of Iranian oil for 60 years, through William Knox d’Arcy, from Reza Khan back in 1901. They purchased another 60-year lease from the Shah again in 1933. After taking control of Iranian oil Mossadegh was forced to campaign at the UN and at The Hague to counter a British lawsuit by arguing that the contracts made with prior governments were not valid. Mossadegh was successful and the international community declared that Iran had every right to take control of its own oil.

Mossadegh’s nationalization move was not made without concern for British interests. His government promised to pay 25% of oil profits to the British as compensation and guaranteed the safety of British jobs. Nonetheless, the British refused to negotiate and responded with a show of naval force, followed by economic blockades, boycotts and the freezing of Iranian assets. (1)

Over the preceding years widespread anti-British sentiment had resulted in a greatly decreased intelligence capability for the British within Iran, so to effectively deal with Mossadegh the British turned to their pals in the American CIA. Author Stephen Dorril documents this affair in his book MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service. He writes,

“Despite British propaganda, the Mossadeq government was generally democratic, moderate, and seemed likely to succeed in establishing a middle-class hold over the state. It was officially viewed by the Truman administration as popular, nationalist and anti-communist.” 

To change the American position on Mossadegh British strategists capitalized on America’s communist paranoia and tried to portray Mossadegh’s regime as weak and a possible avenue for Soviet manipulation. Near the tail end of the Truman administration the head of the CIA’s Middle East Department, Kermit Roosevelt met with John Sinclair and other MI-6 representatives where they “put to him the proposal that they jointly topple Mossadeq”(3). After Eisenhower took over the presidency in January of 1953 the CIA was free to act, and American involvement was confirmed when the British promised to allow American oil companies a 40% stake in Iranian oil in return for toppling Mossadegh and re-acquiring Iranian oil reserves. (4)

The British and Americans finally settled on the virtually powerless son of Reza Khan, Mohammad Reza Shah, to be the new ruler of Iran. At first the young Shah turned down the offers made to him by the conspirators, even after visits from American Colonel H. Norman Schwarzkopf on August 1, 1953, and a later meeting with Kermit Roosevelt. Dorril writes that “The Shah finally agreed to support the plan only ‘after official US and British involvement had been confirmed through a special radio broadcast.'” BBC Persia was used to convey a pre-arranged coded message over the airwaves for the ears of the Shah in order to satisfy his doubts. (5)

To prepare for the coup the Americans funded Ayatollah Bihbani and the British gave a group led by Ayatollah Qanatabadi $100,000 to stir up unrest against Mossadegh. Ayatollah Kashani was given $10,000 by the CIA and his followers played a role in the demonstrations in central Tehran. Another group of fundamentalist agitators was led by Tayyeb Hsaj-Reza’i, a figure who later became a supporter of Ayatollah Khomeini. (6)

In mid-August, 1953, Mossadegh’s government was beset by a multitude of CIA and British-funded plots and demonstrations. On August 15 Mossadegh’s Foreign Minister was kidnapped in a bid to intimidate the government. On August 16 the Shah issued a statement dismissing Mossadegh as Prime Minister and at the same time, propaganda materials were distributed that falsely alleged that religious mullahs were to be hanged by members of the communist Tudeh party (7). On August 17 and 18 mobs made up of religious fanatics and supporters of the Shah converged on Tehran creating chaos and terror. On August 19, in collusion with the chief of police, the mobs were able to reach the Prime Minister’s residence and after a fierce battle, Mossadegh was forced from power. Several days later the Shah returned from Italy and thus began his 25-year dictatorial regime. The story of the Shah’s downfall twenty-five years later, at the hands of the same fundamentalist fanatics who helped him acquire his throne in the first place, involves the British as well, which we will find out momentarily. Radical Islam was indeed a useful tool for the British, and their manipulation of it was only just beginning.

  1. IV. The British War Against Nasser

In their dealings with Nasser, the British used any means necessary, including espionage, diplomacy, bribery and even direct military might to retain control over Egypt and the Suez Canal. The newly founded CIA also became interested in Egypt when Nasser showed signs of tilting to the Soviet Union. Aburish explains how this new avenue of intrigue evolved,

    “According to CIA agent Miles Copeland, the Americans began looking for a Muslim Billy Graham around 1955… When finding or creating a Muslim Billy Graham proved elusive, the CIA began to cooperate with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim mass organization founded in Egypt but with followers throughout the Arab Middle East… This signaled the beginning of an alliance between the traditional regimes and mass Islamic movements against Nasser and other secular forces.” (1)

The CIA was following the example of British Intelligence and sought to use Islam to further its goals. They wanted to find a charismatic religious leader that they could promote and control and they began to cooperate with groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. With the rise of Nasser, the Brotherhood was also courted more seriously by the pro-Western Arab regimes of Saudi Arabia and Jordan. They needed all the popular support that they could muster against the rise of Nasser-inspired Arab nationalism to keep their regimes intact.

The Muslim Brotherhood was an obvious ally against Nasser because he had abolished it from Egypt after it was involved in a failed assassination attempt on his life in 1954. The Brotherhood rejected Nasser’s policy that, for the most part, kept religion out of politics. Officially the Brotherhood was an outlawed organization, but it remained influential and active within Egypt working against the secular regime, often hand-in-hand with British Intelligence. In June of 1955 MI6 was already approaching the Brotherhood in Syria to agitate against the new government that showed strong left-wing tendencies and a desire to merge with Egypt (2). The Brotherhood became an even more important asset after Nasser announced the Egyptian takeover of the Suez. Author Stephen Dorril documents how this move was viewed from Britain,

“On 26 July in Alexandria, in a calm speech, but one that was described by London as hysterical, Nasser made his nationalization announcement, which from a strictly legal point of view was no more ‘than a decision to buy out the shareholders.’ That night in Downing Street, [British Prime Minister] Eden’s bitterness at the decision was not concealed from his guests… Eden summoned a council of war, which continued until 4 a.m. An emotional Prime Minister told his colleagues that Nasser could not be allowed, in Eden’s phrase, ‘to have his hand on our windpipe.’ The ‘Muslim Mussolini’ must be ‘destroyed.’ Eden added: ‘I want him removed and I don’t give a damn if there’s anarchy and chaos in Egypt.'” (3)

Former Prime Minister Churchill had fueled Eden’s fire by counseling him about the Egyptians, saying, “Tell them if we have any more of their cheek we will set the Jews on them and drive them into the gutter, from which they should have never emerged.” (4)

Sir Anthony Nutting, a member of the Foreign Office at the time, recalls an irate phone call from Eden who was upset at the slow pace of the campaign against Nasser. Eden raged, “What’s all this poppycock you’ve sent me? … What’s all this nonsense about isolating Nasser or “neutralizing” him, as you call it? I want him destroyed, can’t you understand? I want him murdered…” (5)

To prepare the way for the desired coup the British Information Research Department (IRD) was called into action. They ratcheted up their efforts to control radio broadcasts into Egypt and they planted false stories in the BBC, the London Press Service and the Arab News Agency. Forged documents were created that suggested that Nasser was planning to take over the entire Middle East oil trade, and a bogus report was disseminated that alleged that Egyptian dissidents were being sent to a concentration camp manned by ex-Nazis. (6)

The British had a problem though in deciding who would take over Egypt after Nasser’s removal. MI-6 held meetings with members of the old Wafd party and allies of former premier Nahas Pasha. The original Free Officer’s leader General Neguib, who had been removed and placed under house arrest by Nasser, was viewed as a possible president, and some British circles even advocated that Prince Abdul Monheim, the most ‘presentable’ Egyptian royal, be made king. (7)

According to Dorril, the most important recruit to the British plot to topple Nasser was an Egyptian Intelligence officer Isameddine Mahmoud Khalil, who was maintained as a contact by supplying him with intelligence about Egypt’s most pressing enemy: Israel. Dorril offers a Mossad chief’s remarks about this situation who said, “Harming Israel’s security by handing over secret information about her did not apparently trouble the conscience of the British.” This was a very complicated time for the British because they were presently working with Israel to coordinate a military attack on Egypt which eventually took place in October. (8)

Evidently, the lack of a clear-cut candidate to replace Nasser did not stop the coup plotters. Dorril concludes that “MI6 did not believe, however, that it was absolutely necessary to have an alternative in place. The Service was confident that once Nasser was overthrown suitable candidates would emerge.” (9)

In late August Nasser acted against the growing threat from British Intelligence. The offices of the Arab News Agency were raided and a number of employees were arrested and confessed to being British agents. Two British diplomats were expelled, one of them, J. B. Flux, had “been in contact with ‘students of a religious inclination’ with the idea of ‘encouraging fundamentalist riots that could provide an excuse for military intervention to protect European lives.'” Other British “businessmen” and “diplomats” were arrested or expelled as well, and because of Nasser’s effective offensive Dorril writes that immediately prior to the Suez War British Intelligence found that it was left “With no assets in the country,” and that “MI6 had to use outside agents for its assassination plans.” (10)

In the end, all of this British subversion and agitation failed, even after they decided upon the direct military confrontation that was played out in the Suez War of October 1956. Popular Egyptian support for Nasser was just too much, and the international community sided with Nasser against the British as well, forcing the Suez Canal to be returned to Egypt. Nasser emerged leading an Egypt finally free from British control.

Since then Britain has continually waged a low-level covert war against Egyptian governments: against Nasser until his death, against Sadat who took over, and even against Mubarak after him, up until this very day. The secular Egyptian government has traditionally been one of the toughest enemies of Islamic terrorism, whereas the single most important backer of Egyptian terror groups has been Britain. This last statement goes entirely against the preconceptions of most British and American citizens, but in the pages that follow we will offer proof to back it up.

  1. Islam Turns Against the West

As we have related, in his book A Brutal Friendship, Said Aburish defined three phases of Western-Islamic relations. The first was the period during which Britain used Islam to help legitimize the puppet dictators that they had installed over their Arab colonies after World War I. The second phase was a period during which Britain (and America) used militant Islam as a force to help topple governments such as Mossadegh’s and Nasser’s that were trying to fight Western domination. Aburish writes,

“The struggle between Nasser and the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots and Western and traditional Arab regimes’ supporters continued until the 1967 War. Western support for Islam was provided openly and accepted by the leadership of the Islamic movements without reservation.” (1)

Aburish notes that Islam had a good image in the West up to this time. The Islamic movement was noted most for its anti-communist outlook and there was little foresight that conservative Islam might turn against the West. Aburish then begins to describe the third phase,

“The third phase in the development of Islamic movements occurred after the 1967 war. The defeat of Nasser was a defeat for the force he represented, secularism, and with Nasser diminished, the Islamic movements moved to assume the political leadership of the masses of Arab Middle East.” (2)

The end of Nasserism: How the 1967 War opened new space for Islamism in the Arab world | Brookings Images may be subject to copyright. Learn More

After 1967 the power of the Islamic movements greatly increased. Islamic theology overtook secularism and a more potent form of Arab nationalism emerged. The Six Day War saw the West stand by as Israel defeated her Arab neighbors, capturing the Sinai, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. It then became clear to most Muslims that the West favored Israel over the Arabs and resentment towards the West increased. This third phase of Western-Islamic relations began when factions of this predominantly anti-Western Fundamentalist Islamic movement began to exercise their new political influence throughout areas of the Muslim world.

After Nasser died in 1970 and was replaced by Anwar al-Sadat the new Egyptian president tried to appease the threat of militant Islam by releasing all of the imprisoned members of the Muslim Brotherhood, despite the fact that the Brotherhood had been involved in at least four separate assassination attempts on Nasser’s life over the previous sixteen years. Sadat then joined forces with King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and they became sponsors and promoters of the Al Azhar Islamic university as well as Islamic movements such as Al Dawa and I’tisam. These leaders realized that it was best to at least appear to support the rise of the Islamic movements. (3)

On October 6, 1973, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on the Israeli Army in the Sinai and the Golan Heights. On October 16 OPEC raised the price of oil by a whopping 70%, and then the next day Arab OPEC leaders announced that they would enforce a progressive embargo against Europe and the United States until Israel was forced to withdraw to their pre-1967 borders.

Engdahl’s book, A Century of War, relates how US National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger was able to convince Germany not to declare neutrality regarding the October war, while Britain “was allowed to clearly state its neutrality.” Britain remained neutral throughout the entire episode and was one of the few Western countries not placed under the Arab oil embargo. (4)

The Yom Kippur War ended on October 26, but the effects were such that the Arab regimes came out much better in several respects. Firstly, they had finally been effective militarily against Israel and they had won back some territory. Secondly, their regimes were infused with a great deal of popular support and the voice of the Islamic militants was temporarily quelled. Lastly, the Arab nations suddenly became the benefactors of a huge increase in oil revenues, from $3.01 a barrel in early ’73, to $11.65 a barrel in early ’74. (5)

Engdahl relates that the rise in oil prices was something that had been planned previously by the Anglo-American Establishment and mentioned at the Bilderberg conference in May 1973 in Saltsjoebaden, Sweden. Kissinger was the point man in engineering the Arab-Israeli conflict that created the excuse for the oil price hike that helped to rescue Britain’s North Sea oil projects that had previously been seen as risky investments. The most catastrophic effect, however, was that the rise in energy prices put a quick halt to Third World industrialization, forcing many countries to borrow a great deal of money over the years to pay for energy, thus setting the stage for the long-term indebtedness of the Third World to Anglo-American banks (6). After the war, the Establishment awarded Kissinger the Nobel Peace Prize and later he received an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth, for his lifelong devoted service to the Crown, in 1995.

The Arab regimes were suddenly greatly enriched as a result of the rise in oil prices, but the threat of the Islamic movements remained. King Faisal of Saudi Arabia feigned support for Islam but was often forced to crack down on the religious leaders and organizations that seemed to constantly criticize the royal family’s overt greed, luxury, and corruption. Faisal was assassinated in 1975 by his nephew Prince Faisali bni Musad, in retaliation for Faisal’s execution of Musad’s Muslim Zealot brother who had attacked a TV station on the grounds that it was a violation of Islam. (7)

In Egypt Sadat’s regime came under extreme pressure from the Islamic movements after he signed the Camp David Accords with Israel in 1978. This led to the assassination of Sadat, by members of Islamic Jihad, an offshoot group of the Muslim Brotherhood, on October 6, 1981.

In Syria, in 1982, there was a major conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Syrian government at the city of Hamma that resulted in 20,000 casualties. In the aftermath, Syria’s President Asad revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood forces were armed with US-made equipment. Aburish comments on how none of these events seemed to change the way in which militant Islam was used,

“Hamma, the assassination of Sadat and Faisal and less portentous acts didn’t interrupt Western and Arab client regimes’ support for Islamic movements, and Saudi Arabia and Egypt allowed pro-Islamic use of their state propaganda apparatus… And Israel, forever inclined to back divisive movements, surfaced as another supporter of Islam and began to fund the Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas.” (8)

The most noteworthy success of the Islamic movement during this time was, of course, the overthrow of the Shah of Iran and the installation of Ayatollah Khomeini as the Islamic dictator. British Intelligence had used their contacts with Iran’s mullahs and ayatollahs to help overthrow Mossadegh and install the Shah back in 1953, and these contacts were maintained and used again to overthrow the Shah when his regime fell out of favor.

The Establishment history of Iran’s Islamic Revolution is that Khomeini’s revolt was spontaneous and populist and that it overthrew a repressive dictatorship that was hated by the people but supported wholeheartedly by the United States. It is true that the Shah’s government was not a democracy and that his secret service, trained by the CIA, was one of the most effective intelligence organizations in the world. But what is not reported is that prior to the British-sponsored massive public relations campaign on behalf of the Ayatollah the government of the Shah was loved by the vast majority of the population.

After taking over from Mossadegh the Shah began to push forward a number of nationalist policies that increased his popularity at home but, in some cases, worried the Anglo-American Establishment. First, he signed petroleum agreements with ENI, the Italian oil company. Then in 1963, he pushed forward on a series of popular reforms that became known as the White Revolution. The Shah evolved into a nationalist whose path paralleled that of Nasser far too much for the Establishment’s liking:

He bought land from the upper classes and, along with the crown’s own land, sold it back cheaply to tenant farmers, allowing over one a half million people to become landowners and ending the old feudal system.
– He allowed women the right to vote and brought an end to the wearing of the veil, which were “Westernizing” moves unwelcomed by the religious sector.
– He pushed forward on a $90 billion nuclear power program.
– He moved to shut down the lucrative opium industry that had been created during the days of British Empire control that had been running for a hundred years. (9)

In 1973 The Economist magazine featured Iran on the front cover with the caption: “Iran the Next Japan of the Middle East?” Iran’s economy had grown at a rate of 7-8% each year from 1965-1973 and was becoming an example for the developing nations of the world to follow. As far as the Anglo-American Establishment was concerned this could not be allowed to continue. Establishment goals were focused on world de-population and de-industrialization as formulated by policymakers like Lord Bertrand Russell and as advocated by establishment lackeys such as Kissinger, Zibigniew Brzezinski and Robert McNamara (the head of the World Bank), as well as by the British elites who controlled the World Wildlife Fund and other environmental front groups. Iran had to be brought down. (10)

The attack on the Shah’s government came through the Muslim Brotherhood and through the mullahs and ayatollahs of Iran, supported and manipulated by British Intelligence. Dr. John Coleman, a former British Intelligence agent and author of a number of books and monographs detailing the Establishment’s plan for a socialist world government, states in his report on Iran’s Islamic Revolution (11) that the Muslim Brotherhood was created by “the great names of British Middle East intelligence, T.E. Lawrence, E.G. Browne, Arnold Toynbee. St. John Philby and Bertrand Russell,” and that their mission was to “keep the Middle East backward so that its natural resource, oil, could continue to be looted…”

Dr. Coleman writes that in 1980 the broadcasts of Radio Free Iran divided the enemies of the Shah into four categories: 1. Iranian politicians bought by the Israeli Shin Bet, 2. The CIA’s network of agents, 3. The feudal landowners, 4. The Freemasons and the Muslim Brotherhood (viewed as the same enemy).

In his report, Dr. Coleman writes that in Iran, “At one time there was even a joke about the mullahs being stamped ‘made in Britain.'” When the Shah introduced his plan for modernization in 1963 Ayatollah Khomeini emerged as the leader of the religious opposition. Up until his exile from Iran in 1964, Khomeini was based at the religious city of Qom. Dr. Coleman relates that Radio Free Iran claimed that while at Qom Khomeini received a “monthly stipend from the British, and he is in constant contact with his masters, the British.”

Khomeini was kicked out of Iran and settled in Iraq. He lived there for a number of years until he was arrested by the Iraqi government and deported in 1978. French President D’Estang was then pressured to offer Khomeini refuge in France to continue his “Islamic studies.” While in France he became a Western celebrity and the symbol of the anti-Shah Islamic revolution. Coleman writes, “Once Khomeini was installed at the Chateau Neauphle, he began to receive a constant stream of visitors, many of them from the BBC, the CIA, and British intelligence.”

At the same time, Amnesty International was continuing its intense campaign against the Shah’s government, accusing it of torture and other terrible human rights abuses. The international press picked up on this theme and carried it around the world.

The BBC then became the Ayatollah’s main promoter. Dr. Coleman writes, “It was the BBC, which prepared and distributed to the mullahs in Iran all of the cassette tapes of Khomeini’s speeches, which inflamed the peasants. Then the BBC began to beam accounts of torture by the Shah’s SAVAK to all corners of the world… In September and October 1978 the BBC began to beam Khomeini’s inflammatory ravings direct to Iran in Farsi. The Washington Post said, ‘the BBC is Iran’s public enemy number one.'”

The BBC Persian Service came to be nicknamed in Iran the “Ayatollah BBC” for its non-stop coverage of everything that Khomeini wanted to say (12). Soon a large segment of the Iranian public, most of them impressionable young students, became convinced that the Shah truly was evil and that a return to pure Shi’ite Islam under the Ayatollah’s leadership was the only way to save their country. The Carter Administration, manipulated by British lackey Zbigniew Brzezinski, then collaborated with the British to topple the Shah and install Khomeini.

Dr. Coleman relates that Carter appointed Trilateralist George Ball to head a commission on U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf. Ball’s recommendation was that the U.S. should withdraw its support for the Shah’s regime. Dr. Coleman quotes from the Shah’s own memoirs to confirm the American stance, the reality that is contrary to the mass-marketed Establishment line that the U.S. supported the Shah to the end,

“I did not know it then, perhaps I did not want to know – but it is clear to me now, the Americans wanted me out. What was I to make of the sudden appointment of Ball to the White House as an advisor to Iran? I knew that Ball was no friend of Iran. I understood that Ball was working on a special report on Iran. But no one ever informed me what areas the report was to cover, let alone its conclusions. I read them months later when I was in exile, and my worst fears were confirmed. Ball was among those Americans who wanted to abandon me, and ultimately my country.”

After the Shah stepped down in 1979 and fled the country his “firm ally,” the United States, even refused to allow him asylum forcing him to move with his family to Egypt. During the subsequent takeover of the American embassy when supporters of the Ayatollah kept Americans hostage for 444 days it became crystal clear to the entire world that the anti-democratic, anti-Israel Islamic movement was also very anti-West. Nonetheless, the Anglo-American Establishment continued to support and promote radical Islam.

In 1977 Bhutto of Pakistan, who we will cover shortly, was removed; in 1979 the Shah of Iran was removed; in 1981 Sadat was assassinated, and in 1982 the Muslim Brotherhood revolted in Syria. Before 1977 the Middle East was on the verge of achieving stability and industrial and economic parity with the West through nationalist policies and high oil prices, but by the early ’80s, the Middle East was in flames. Egypt was reeling and Mubarak was consolidating a shaky hold on power. Iran and Iraq, both armed by the West, were beginning their long war. Israel and Syria were invading Lebanon that was fighting a civil war, and Russia was invading Afghanistan whose rebels were being supported by Pakistan. The de-population and de-industrialization scheme advocated by the British and adopted by the Americans was off to a great start.

  1. Afghanistan, Pakistan, the ISI, and the BCCI

On July 3, 1979, at the insistence of advisors such as Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter signed a directive authorizing covert aid to the fundamentalist opponents of the ruling communist regime in Afghanistan (1). This move was understood as one that would likely lead to direct Soviet intervention and that is exactly what happened on December 24 of that year when, after being invited by the Afghani government, the Russian military took up positions to protect government assets from rebel attacks.

From the beginning of the Afghan War, the CIA partnered with Pakistani Intelligence (ISI) and funded the rebel mujahedin fighters. Today it is generally understood that radical Islam received its biggest boost as a result of the mujahedin’s successful jihad against Soviet forces, and when the Soviets retreated from Afghan territory in early 1989 the country was left with tens of thousands of unemployed Islamic mercenaries who then turned their attention to the West.

The history of Afghanistan has always been closely connected with Pakistan, a region formerly colonized by Britain. British involvement in the subcontinent goes back as far as the early years of the seventeenth century when British East India Company merchants were allowed to establish trading posts by the Emperor Jahangir of the Islamic Mughal Empire. Direct British rule in India is generally seen as beginning in 1757 when BEIC forces led by Robert Clive defeated the army of the Nawab of Bengal at the Battle of Plessey. In 1803 British control over the subcontinent increased even further when the rulers of the Mughal Empire became pensioners of the BEIC. The Indus River Valley, the center of modern Pakistan, was brought under British control through the successful campaign of 1848-1849 that conquered the Sikh empire, giving British Punjab. Since then the regions that are today India and Pakistan were ruled by Britain continuously until the British Empire withdrew and created the two nations in 1947.

When Britain withdrew a number of British officers remained behind to help shepherd (and control) the emerging Pakistani Army. One of these was Major General Walter Joseph Cawthorn who, as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Pakistani Army established Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in 1948. Cawthorn was an Australian-born British Intelligence (MI-6) agent who had directed operations in the Middle East, Indian, and Southeast Asian bureaus from 1939-1945. He became Sir Cawthorn in 1958 when he was knighted by the British Crown, and later he served in Australia as head of their Secret Intelligence Service (2). Pakistan’s ISI was originally a military intelligence agency created to help defend Pakistan in the early wars against India over Kashmir and other border issues, but over the years it has grown to become Pakistan’s version of the CIA, and it has continually maintained close ties with British Intelligence.

The power of the ISI increased for its first twenty years until the emergence of Pakistan’s first popularly elected civilian leader, the socialist Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1971. Bhutto immediately displayed the same nationalistic characteristics as Nasser, Mossadegh and the Shah and his regime fell out of favor with the British government and the West. In 1972 Bhutto withdrew his country from the British Commonwealth of Nations and he pursued closer relations with Russia, China, and the Arab states.

In 1977 the inevitable coup took place, and President Bhutto was overthrown by General Zia Ul-Haq, who had been appointed to Chief of the Army Staff by Bhutto in 1976 at the insistence of Gulam Jilani Khan, the longstanding Director General of the ISI. Bhutto comments at great length on his constant struggles with, and betrayal by, the ISI in his book If I Am Assassinatedpenned from his Pakistani prison cell. He also relates how Kissinger threatened him for pushing forward on Pakistan’s nuclear power program, telling him, “We will make an example of you!” He was. Bhutto was executed in 1978 after being subjected to a sham trial, despite the objections of heads of state from around the globe. (3)

A radical spokesman of the Muslim Brotherhood had this to say several years later, “The Brotherhood has taken over in Iran and Pakistan. Bhutto stood for intrusion of the West into Islam. Bhutto was everything that Pakistan was not. That is why we killed him. And we will use his death as a warning to others.” (3a)

Britain’s relation with the Pakistan underworld becomes clear with a look back at the BCCI scandal. The Bank of Credit and Commerce International was the first Third World multinational bank, created in 1972 by Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi. It was initially funded by Sheik Zayed of Abu Dhabi, and from a $2.5 million operation, it grew to be worth $23 billion when it was finally shut down in 1991. It was created just in time to take advantage of the river of cash that was flowing into the Middle East through the oil industry.

One of BCCI’s early moves to gain international influence was its purchase in 1976 of 85% of the Banque de Commerce et Placements (BCP) of Geneva, Switzerland. After the BCCI took over this bank it installed Alfred Hartmann as manager. Hartmann then became the chief financial officer for BCC Holding and thus one of BCCI’s most influential directors. Hartmann was a member of the British banking establishment through his connections with the Rothschild family, being a member of the board of directors of N.M. Rothschild and Sons, London, and president of Rothschild Bank AG of Zurich. (4)

BCCI was initially incorporated in Luxembourg, famous for its lax banking restrictions, and soon branches and holding companies sprouted up around the globe: in the Cayman Islands, the Netherlands Antilles, Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, Washington DC and just about everywhere else. However, by 1980, when the BCCI finally applied for and received a license from the Bank of England, there were already more branches in the UK than in any other nation. In fact, one of BCCI’s primary economics advisors was the former British Prime Minister (1976-79) Lord James Callaghan (5). The BCCI may have been created by a Pakistani, but in the end, it was a British-based and British-controlled bank.

Over the years the BCCI became involved in just about every type of illicit transaction that a bank could be involved in including drug money laundering, weapons dealing, bribery, fraud, etc. It was used extensively by the CIA throughout its history, it played a part in the Iran-Contra scandal, it was a bank used by the Medellin Colombian cocaine cartel, and a branch was even set up in Panama for the cash that Manuel Noriega was funneling out of his country. After BCCI was shut down the UK’s The Guardian newspaper reported that the terrorist Abu Nidal had maintained BCCI accounts. Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne, the Time reporters who covered the scandal write,

“According to The Guardian’s sources, the Nidal group had long used a London branch of BCCI to move the money it used to mount attacks on Western targets, and MI5 — the English equivalent of the CIA — had known about the accounts. There seemed to be no doubt that the BCCI bankers knew exactly who they were dealing with: One of the bankers at the London branch described how anxious they had been to provide every service to the terrorists in order to keep their multibillion-dollar accounts.” (6)

However, the main purpose of the BCCI and the reason behind its meteoric rise was its connection to the ISI and the mujahedin fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. After Zia replaced Bhutto as Pakistan’s president he appointed his friend Fazle Haq to be the governor of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province in 1978. This is the area that borders Afghanistan through which tons of drugs and weapons were smuggled over the Khyber Pass. Fazle Haq was an important friend and backer of BCCI’s founder Abedi, and the BCCI was used to launder untold millions of ISI narcotics revenues (7).

Coincidentally, in 1983 the British-based World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) suggested that two national parks be created in Pakistan’s northwest, and although rather thin in natural wildlife the preserves proved to be excellent for poppy growing and for staging mujahedin incursions into Afghanistan. (8)

Former Senate investigator Jack Blum said this about the BCCI’s connection to the Afghan war during his testimony to the U.S. Congress,

“This bank was a product of the Afghan War and people very close to the mujahideen have said that many Pakistani military officials who were deeply involved in assisting and supporting the Afghan rebel movement were stealing our foreign assistance money and using BCCI to hide the money they stole; to market American weapons that were to be delivered that they stole; and to market and manage funds that came from the selling of heroin that was apparently engineered by one of the mujahideen groups.” (9)

When General Zia took over Pakistan all of the pieces were in place to begin the massive drug running, fraud and swindling operation that was the Afghan War. According to Beaty and Gwynne, Zia already had a “close and cooperative relationship” with BCCI founder Agha Hasan Abedi when he took power (10). The triangle of General Zia’s government, the ISI (who had empowered Zia) and the BCCI then proceeded to run the Afghan mujahedin uprising for the CIA, with input from above from British Intelligence. Over the course of the Afghan war up to $5 billion of American taxpayer aid was funneled into the war effort, and through the duration, Pakistan’s ISI trained about 83,000 Muslim mujahedin fighters.

Britain’s role in promoting the Afghan experiment was crucial, although now it is often overlooked. Almost immediately after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan Lord Nicholas Bethell, a career British Intelligence agent formed Radio Free Kabul as a voice for the mujahedin. Bethell had been involved with Russian and Mid-East operations his entire career, and he was a close friend of British spy Kim Philby. Other members of Radio Free Kabul included Winston Churchill III, former Foreign Secretary Baron Chalfont, Lord Morrison of Lambeth the former head of the Foreign Office, and British Intelligence official Ray Whitney. In 1981 Lord Bethell accompanied Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on a tour of the U.S. to drum up support for the resistance, and together they met with over 60 congressmen and senators, eventually leading to the creation of the US-based Committee for a Free Afghanistan which continually lobbied in support of the mujahedin. (11)

Another British creation was Afghan Aid UK, first set up in Peshawar, Pakistan by the wife of British journalist John Fullerton. This group’s primary sponsor was Britain’s Viscount Cranbourne, who later testified before the U.S. Congress Special Joint Task Force on Afghanistan to lobby for US support. His organization was granted substantial funding by the British government and by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). (11)

Britain lobbied to create a war in Afghanistan, they wanted American taxpayers to pay for it, and they manipulated the financial situation so that they might profit from it. The BCCI was shut down by the Bank of England in 1991 only after the Russian withdrawal, and only then because of the courageous campaigning of a handful of American investigators. Beaty and Gwynne write,

“Though the Bank of England had pulled the trigger on BCCI on July 5, 1991, and had thereby started a global chain reaction that had smashed Agha Hasan Abedi’s brainchild into tiny pieces, it had done so only reluctantly and only after waiting an extraordinary amount of time. It had been cowardly rather than heroic; it had moved only when forced to do so by a formidable U.S. alliance between the Federal Reserve Bank and the Manhattan district attorney.” (12)

The final U.S. congressional report on the BCCI affair states,

“By agreement, the Bank of England had in effect entered into a plan with BCCI, Abu Dhabi and Price Waterhouse in which they would keep the true state of affairs at BCCI secret in return for cooperation with one another in trying to avoid a catastrophic multibillion-dollar collapse. From April 1990 forward, the Bank of England had now inadvertently become partner to a cover-up of BCCI’s criminality.” (13)

BCCI was the favored bank for Middle Eastern terrorists and arms and drug runners, South American drug cartels, organized crime lords, and even for intelligence services such as the ISI, Mossad, MI6 and the CIA. In fact, then-CIA assistant director Robert Gates once referred to BCCI jokingly as the “Bank of Crooks and Criminals” (14). For at least a decade British authorities allowed it to run amuck out of their living room and after it’s fall important records were sealed away and kept from American investigators. When the scandal broke the media backlash focused primarily on BCCI’s American links and the CIA, but only because of the British establishment’s secrecy and expertise in damage control. It’s likely that the whole truth will never be known.

As the war in Afghanistan wound down and the Russian withdrawal became inevitable, the situation became much more complex. American support for the mujahedin dropped off as the CIA tried to resist the establishment of a fanatical Afghani government. New warlords emerged and other avenues of drug smuggling were increasingly utilized, through Iran and through the southern Soviet republics. The dwindling supply of U.S. Government money and arms, coupled with a decreasing supply of drug cash, helped along the BCCI decline.

This brings us to focus on the drug industry and the impact it has had in shaping Afghanistan. Peter Dale ScottAlfred W. McCoy, and Michael C. Ruppert are three authorities in this area. In brief, the conclusion reached by the experiences and research of these men is that drugs (most notably cocaine and heroin) are controlled commodities, just like oil, gold, and diamonds, with intricate Western-supported systems of production, distribution and cash flow. Today the global drug industry generates about $600 Billion a year, and the vast majority of this cash is funneled (laundered) into Anglo-American banks and/or Wall Street. These researchers allege that one of the most important tasks of Western intelligence services has been to make sure that the flow of drug cash back into the Anglo-American financial system continues unimpeded. (And yes, the London-based BCCI was, for all intents and purposes, an Anglo-American bank.)

Whatever the case may be, it is worth pointing out that when Britain and the CIA became involved in Afghanistan the production of opium skyrocketed. From an estimated harvest of only 100 tons per year in the early seventies, opium production went up to 300 tons in 1982 and then to 575 tons in 1983. By the late eighties, near the end of the war, Afghani opium poppy production had reached an estimated 1600 tons per year. (15)

The CIA’s drug racket was so successful that by 1981 Afghanistan supplied about 60% of America’s heroin from contributing an almost negligible amount just two years previously. The crops were grown in Afghanistan, synthesized into heroin in labs on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border, and then smuggled into the US and Europe. General Zia’s government was drowning in a sea of heroin as well, despite the international accolades he was receiving for simultaneously reducing the poppy crop on his side of the border, and Pakistan’s heroin-addict population grew from about 5,000 in 1981 to over 1.2 million by 1985. (16)

It is also worth noting that the US-led war on the Taliban regime occurred after one of the most successful poppy-eradication programs ever seen. In July of 2000 Mullah Omar placed a ban on poppy growing and by February of 2001 UN drug control officials were able to confirm that poppy production had come to a virtual standstill in Taliban-controlled areas. Was the expected loss of drug-revenue an added incentive for the West to remove the Taliban? Does this explain why Afghan farmers have had little resistance in their quick return to their favorite cash crop after the Taliban’s demise? (17)

When the CIA became involved in Afghanistan they were almost entirely dependent on their ISI contacts within Pakistan for intelligence and for guidance in directing the war effort. As the war evolved American support was channeled, at the behest of the ISI, to a group of seven independent Afghani mujahedin warlords who became known as the Peshawar Seven.

Eventually one of the seven, a warlord by the name of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, emerged as the primary recipient of American aid, despite his communist past, his radical view of Islam and his blatant anti-Americanism. Hekmatyar had been an engineering student at Kabul University, and then he had trained at the Kabul Military Academy before being kicked out. Hekmatyar became affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in the early ’70s, and by the time of the Afghan war he had emerged as the leader of a group called Hezb-i-Islami, or Party of Islam, even though he had never received a classical Islamic education. Over the years his followers became known for their strict Muslim fanaticism (they were notorious for throwing acid on the faces of women who refused to wear a veil), and Hekmatyar became Afghanistan’s biggest opium producer. He possessed thousands of acres of poppy fields and, according to McCoy, he owned at least six heroin laboratories on the Pakistan side of the Khyber Pass. (18)

In March of 1990, the US House Republican Research Committee of the Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare submitted a 19-page report that criticized the CIA for its dealings with Hekmatyar’s “Party of Islam” and for covering up the problems that his group had created. Over time it has emerged that Hekmatyar was an ISI asset who laundered his money through BCCI and also cooperated with the Russian KGB to ensure his status as the most powerful warlord among many rivals. Jeffrey Steinberg of EIR sums it up,

“Although American diplomats and intelligence officers posted in Pakistan often warned of Hekmatyar’s strong anti-western and pro-Iranian views, speculated about possible Soviet KGB links, and even acknowledged his undisputed status as Afghanistan’s “heroin king,” his forces received the largest portion of American and other international military support throughout the Afghan War. Intelligence reports back to Washington about the progress of the war were notoriously biased and filled with disinformation portraying Hekmatyar’s mujahideen as the most successful fighters. Often the reports to the Pentagon and the CIA were identical to the reports prepared by British intelligence—complete with the same spelling and typographical errors. More reliable on-the-scene reports indicated that Hekmatyar spent more time and effort fighting rival mujahideen groups than battling the Soviets.” (19)

The ISI’s spin on the situation comes through in the book Afghanistan: The Bear Trapin which Brigadier Mohammed Yousaf, the former head of the ISI’s Afghan Bureau, (co-written with a former British Army officer), describes Hekmatyar as “scrupulously honest” and the toughest and most vigorous mujahedin leader. Yousaf was the ISI’s director of the mujahedin and he argues that the war was drawn out longer than necessary because the United States did not give Hekmatyar and the Islamists enough support, which began to fade in the late ’80s while the Soviets still occupied Afghanistan. Yousef resents the fact that the CIA did not give the Islamists an overwhelming victory, even though the Taliban eventually emerged after several years of civil war. (20)

Yousef’s point of view can be compared to the 1990 US House Republican Report which is covered in this article by journalist Imran Akbar of The News International, which also details the suspected KGB links maintained by Hekmatyar.

After the Taliban took power Hekmatyar was forced to flee to Iran. In February of this year, the Iranian government shut down his operations in Iran and expelled him back to Afghanistan. Hekmatyar has been as outspoken as ever in his anti-American views, offering reward money for the killing of American troops and calling the new US-installed Afghan government illegitimate. In May the CIA reportedly tried to assassinate him with a missile fired from an unmanned Predator drone as he and his entourage journeyed near Kabul.  This ISI favorite remains one of the most dangerous players in Afghanistan today. (21)

In his book, Yousef also goes to great lengths to make it clear that American personnel were never involved in training any of the Afghan mujahedin,

“Up to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in early 1989, no American or Chinese instructor was ever involved in giving training on any kind of weapon or equipment to the Mujahideen. Even with the heavier and more sophisticated weapons systems… it was always our Pakistani teams who trained the Mujahideen. This was a deliberate, carefully considered policy that we steadfastly refused to change despite mounting pressure from the CIA, and later from the US Defense Department, to allow them to take it over. From the start, the Americans wanted to be directly involved with the distribution of the weapons, the operational planning of operations and the training of guerillas. From the start, until the last Soviet soldier quit the country, we successfully resisted.” [emphasis added] (22)

Other than being financier and armament supplier, the American CIA was out of the loop. It was Yousef’s ISI that ran the Afghan jihad against the Soviets, and it was the ISI that channeled CIA support to the most undesirable Afghan warlords. What becomes clear after reviewing the record of this era is that the ISI’s agenda, and that of the Afghan War in general, was set to a far greater degree by the British than it was by the CIA. The British had formulated and promoted the plan for American involvement; they maintained close relations with the ISI that ran the war; they controlled the bank that largely benefited from it; and when the war was over they welcomed into Britain the many mujahedin veterans who applied for British asylum.

Osama bin Laden was one of these veterans and in early 1994 he purchased an estate and lived for a short while in the London suburb of Wembley. During his time in London, he established his Advice and Reformation Committee to oversee his economic network, and he solidified his propaganda links to the Western world through his connections with London’s Sheikh Omar Bakri and with Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor of al-Quds al-Arabi, one of the most influential Arabic-language newspapers in the world. Yossef Bodansky, author of the best-selling biography of bin Laden writes that “By the time bin Laden left London, he had consolidated a comprehensive system of entities with a solid -though clandestine- source of funding. This London-based data-dissemination system still works efficiently. (Written in 1999). (23)

Peter Goodgame
August 11, 2002
Further Information

From Executive Intelligence Review: