George Graham

An Ugly Alliance



It’s ironic that America finds itself allied with such unsavory characters in a morally motivated crusade against the barbarians of ISIS.  From what I know of the Saudi royal family, I wouldn’t put their pictures on any poster for benevolent government.

These dictators rule with an iron hand, I understand. And the society they rule seems to be little better than the Islamic state that the Suni extremists hope to create. From what I’ve read, it’s a society in which young girls are forced into marriage and women are forbidden to drive cars, for example.

Conditions are much the same in Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, as far as I can determine. This alliance seems to be a particularly unsavory group of oppressive dictatorships.

By choosing such allies, America is sending a disturbing message to the world.

I know, President Obama did not want to be seen as waging a unilateral war against a Muslim group. But is it any better to be seen as the ally of brutal dictators?

I read that Turkey is expected to join the coalition. I know nothing about today’s Turkey, but history does not paint a rosy picture of that country’s past. Modern Turkey was built on the graves of the Christian population of the Ottoman Empire. And its brutal aggression against neighboring countries has left a toxic legacy in the Balkans. More recently, the Turkish government has been accused of bloody suppression of minorities – including the Kurds. And the Kurds in Iraq and Syria are America’s most reliable allies.

One of the factors in global terrorism is the way in which dictators like the Saudi princes behave. I suspect it’s America’s close ties with these despots that have made some terrorists so eager to strike at the United States.

To complicate the issue even more, America’s new allies are all Sunnis, and it was America that toppled the Sunni regime of Saddam Hussein, clearing the way for a Shiite takeover of Iraq.

Do America’s strategists really expect the  Shiite Iraqis to fight shoulder to shoulder with their mortal enemies in the campaign against ISIS now? Do they expect the Sunni Iraqis to fight against ISIS, which is a Sunni sect albeit a rogue one,  in order to protect their Shiite government?

Another suspect notion is the idea of arming “moderate” rebels in Syria. Doesn’t the phrfase “moderate rebels” seem like an oxymoron to you? It does to me.

As things stand now, the United States and its Arab allies are bombing enemies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a bloody dictator America would like to see deposed.  Meanwhile, Congress has approved money to arm rfebels fighting Assad.

Once again, the US is fighting on both sides of a civil war. To my unschooled eyes, that looks like a sure way to lose.

Don’r get me wrong. I understand why the Obama administration is pursuing ISIS into Syria. For one thing, no group should be allowed to behead journalists and massacre minorities. For another, the ability of a violent jihadist organization to control a country of its own would present a terrifying threat to America.

But I wish America had different allies. Failing that, President Obama should have considered going it alone.

Click for more on the new war.

Click for the war profiteers.

Click for Turkey’s past.

Click for more on the Saudi princes.

Click for even more.


About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for