Old Allies

RIAD/BERLIN | | afghanistansaudi-arabien

RIAD/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin is trying to engage the feudal elite of Saudi-Arabia in the counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. According to the German Ministry of the Interior, Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former chief of the Saudi intelligence service, spent several days in Berlin to discuss how to "enhance the cooperation between the two states in the field of security policy". The discussion focused particularly on ways to "improve the security in the Pakistani region bordering Afghanistan." Since the 1980s, Prince Turki al-Faisal has had close contacts in that region, when he organized Saudi support for the West- German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and other western intelligence services in their efforts to end the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, with the help of Islamic Jihadists. At the time, Osama Bin Laden was one of Turki al-Faisal's partners. Today, Berlin would like for this former Saudi intelligence chief to once again use his contacts in the war zone on behalf of the West. But this time to crush the former accomplices in the war against the Soviet Union, that he helped take power.

According to the German Ministry of the Interior, Prince Turki al-Faisal ibn Abdul Aziz al-Saud, spent several days for talks in the German capital - at the invitation of State Secretary August Henning. Both have many years of intelligence service experience: Henning, as President of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) (1998 - 2005) and Turki al Faisal, as chief of the Saudi foreign intelligence service (1977 - 2001). According to the German Ministry of the Interior, the visit was to "enhance the cooperation between the two states in the field of security policy".[1] With this visit, the long period of direct and indirect cooperation in the field of intelligence becomes evident. Today, Berlin wants to use this cooperation in the fight against Islamic insurgency at the Afghan-Pakistani border.

Station in Riad

At the time Prince Turki al-Faisal became President of the Saudi foreign intelligence service (General Intelligence Directorate, GID) in 1977, the GID was already cooperating with the BND. In the late 1960s, the German intelligence service aided in the establishment and training of the GID and furnished German wiretapping techniques.[2] In the early 1970s, the BND opened a station in Riad to consolidate its ties to its Saudi counterpart. When Turki al-Faisal became GID president, the BND station entertained relations not only with the Saudi service but also to intelligence services of other states on the Arabian Peninsula.

Partner Bin Laden

Just three years after taking office, Turki al-Faisal adopted a new focus of activities, that of supporting Islamist insurgents against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Immediately after Soviet forces marched into Afghanistan, at the end of December 1979, various western secret services began to support Islamist insurgents in Afghanistan - with the complicity of the Saudi Arabian services and the GID president Turki al-Faisal. Riad is said to have placed US $350 - $500 million per year at the disposal of the Mujahedin in direct cooperation with the CIA.[3] Turki al-Faisal personally influenced the fighting at the Hindu Kush - mainly through Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden and the Saudi head of espionage became "good friends and allies in a common cause," says a known expert on the development in Pakistan.[4]

Blow Up in Peshawar

The BND, whose station in Riad upheld good relations to its Saudi counterpart, also became active at the Hindu Kush in the 1980s. To have influence in Afghanistan, the BND extended its base in Peshawar, in northwestern Pakistan, a "stomping ground for all of the western intelligence services," explains the BND expert, Erich Schmidt-Eenboom.[5] Today Peshawar is one of the areas, where the Afghanistan war is spilling over into Pakistan. The standard reference work on the BND explains that while "officers of the GSG-9 unit together with Egyptian and Saudi special forces" were training Jihadists near Peshawar, Arabian combat volunteers were receiving training "even in Upper Bavaria."[6] According to this work, the BND's station chief in Pakistan was mainly active in Peshawar, "his job was to teach Pashtuns how to blow up Soviet tanks."

Helper in the Occupation

It is well known that the activities carried out by the BND and the Saudi's GID at the Hindu Kush, parallel and in collaboration with several other western intelligence services, were successful. The Soviet Union withdrew its troops and a few years later the west's apprentices, known as the Taliban, took power in Kabul. In the meantime they have become the main enemy of their former promoters, who have not been able to defeat them. Prince Turki al-Faisal, Osama bin Laden's former partner, is now being called upon to help. A few days ago, according to the German Ministry of the Interior, he discussed the possibilities of "enhancing the security situation in the Pakistani regions bordering on Afghanistan" with Germany's Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.[7] Since some time, Berlin has been extending its activities in that area, to repress the escalating resistance against the occupation and to secure the supply routes to the war zone. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[8]) With the influence possibilities, offered by his networks, Turki al-Faisal can supplement the western police and military repression.

[1] Besuch aus Saudi-Arabien im BMI; www.bmi.bund.de 10.02.2009
[2] Erich Schmidt-Eenboom: Der Schattenkrieger. Klaus Kinkel und der BND, Düsseldorf 1995
[3] Lawrence Wright: The Looming Tower. Al Qaeda's Road to 9/11, New York 2006
[4] Ahmed Rashid: Taliban. Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, New Haven 2000
[5] Erich Schmidt-Eenboom: Der Schattenkrieger. Klaus Kinkel und der BND, Düsseldorf 1995
[6] Peter F. Müller, Michael Mueller mit Erich Schmidt-Eenboom: Gegen Freund und Feind. Der BND: Geheime Politik und schmutzige Geschäfte, Reinbek 2002
[7] Besuch aus Saudi-Arabien im BMI; www.bmi.bund.de 10.02.2009
[8] see also The Next War and Without Perspectives