This article was published on Russia Today on January 12, 2016.
“I believe that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are the two greatest dangers to world peace,” Senator Black told RT. “It is Saudi Arabia, through the Wahhabist doctrine, that is spreading terrorism across the globe. It’s not Iran, it’s not Syria or any other country.”
Saudi Arabia’s state-sponsored teachings of Wahhabism promote an ultra-conservative, austere version of Sunni Islam. Meanwhile, Black told RT that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan intends to impose an absolute dictatorship.
“Erdogan has a dream of becoming a new Ottoman Empire,” Black said. “He’s a very calculating, very vicious individual and, I think, a great danger. Erdogan won an absolute majority of the Turkish parliament, which will enable him to rewrite the constitution. Once he had that total power to impose an absolute dictatorship – which he intends to do – and he publicly said that his model is that of Adolph Hitler.”
At its height in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Ottoman Empire encompassed southeast Europe, western Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. During World War I, the Ottoman Empire declared a military jihad on France, Russia, and Great Britain, but ultimately lost.
The Adolph Hitler comment Black referred to comes from an interview back in January when Erdogan told journalists that he wanted to transform his office into a US-style executive “super-presidency,” through constitutional reforms.
“In a unitary system (such as Turkey’s) a presidential system can work perfectly,” said Erdogan, according to Agence France-Presse. “There’s already examples in the world and in history. You can see it when you look at Hitler’s Germany.”
After that analogy caught news headlines, the president’s office said in a statement that it was “unacceptable” to interpret Erdogan’s remarks as endorsement of Nazism.
“Our president…has declared that the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, along with Islamophobia, are crimes against humanity,” a press statement read, adding that Hitler’s Germany “had disastrous consequences” for the political system and could not be held up as a model.
Erdogan’s party, while controlling a majority of seats in the parliament, does not command the required two-thirds necessary to change the constitution without the support of other parties.
Senator Black thinks the civil war in Syria would never have happened without the efforts of Saudi Arabia and Turkey. He said the war in Syria was not a domestic uprising or part of the Arab Spring, with civilians seeking democracy. Instead, he called it an uprising of hardcore jihadists, aided by the CIA and MI6, with the help of Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Saudi Arabia was able to control governments across the world with its financial strength, and the Turks had their own agenda with regard to Europe, Black argued.
“Virtually all arms, ammunition, equipment, supplies, jihadists, medical support – all of it comes from Turkey. Right now, ISIS sends 44,000 barrels of oil per day – stolen barrels, most of it from Syria – across the border into Turkey,” said Black. “The State Department has publicly said that there’s only a trickle of oil that gets into Turkey, but I have personally spoken to Kurdish activists … [who] observed hundreds of ISIS oil tankers carrying stolen Syrian oil into Turkey on a daily basis.”
Black said Turkey is “actively assisting the ISIS rebels,” and also “helping the Al-Nusra rebels which are linked with Al-Qaeda.”
“In both places we’ve got terrorists, and in both places their major support comes out of Turkey. And it comes out of Turkey with approval from the highest levels of government.”
As for Saudi Arabia, Black believes the latest spike in tensions between the Saudis and Iran is proof of how Washington has been turning a blind eye to Riyadh’s actions.
“The US has been so in bed with the Saudi Arabians for so long. The Bush family – Herbert Walker Bush, George Bush, Jeb Bush – all of them have been closely tied with the dictatorship of Saudi Arabia,” he said. “The same thing with the Clintons – Bill, Hillary – very closely tied to the money from Saudi Arabia. And because of this Saudi Arabia has been able to do the most outrageous things,” said Black.
“We tend to condemn various secular nations in the Middle East because they do don’t do this quite right, or that quite right. And yet we overlook the absolute barbarity of the Saudi Kingdom, their absolute dictatorship.”
Black said that there is not a single Christian church in Saudi Arabia, but the US is quick to condemn other countries lacking in religious freedoms.
“What’s happening is that they [the Saudi family] are trying to restore some of the hostility between Shiites and the Sunnis. The Saudis massacred 47 people,” Black told RT. “I’m sure some of them were genuine criminals, but many of them were simply political opponents. And then there was an inevitable reaction which they knew there would be. And the Saudis, in typical fashion, have now shown a sense of outrage that people would be angered by the level of their debauchery – and this is typical of the Saudis.”
Black served in the US Marine Corps and retired as a Colonel in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) corps before being elected to the Virginia legislature. He maintains that the Assad government is effectively fighting against Islamic State and protecting the remaining Christians of Syria. Its fall, he says, would allow IS to quickly seize Jordan and Lebanon, and continue its drive westward.