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Shattering the propagandistic bipartisan lie that Saudi Arabia is a critical ally in the global war on terror, Senator Bernie Sanders, in an interview with The Intercept, boldly proclaimed that the House of Saud is “not an ally of the United States” – something rarely heard within the corridors of United States power.

The United States has long maintained that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a loyal ally, mainly due to the extreme dependence on the Saudis, who concluded the petrodollar agreement with President Nixon in 1973. In the arrangement, they agreed that all oil trade would be denominated in US dollar in return for the U.S. agreeing to sell military armaments to the Saudis.

According to Alastair Crooke, writing for the Huffington Post:

The dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency was first established in 1944 with the Bretton Woods agreement. The U.S. was able assume this role by virtue of it then having the largest gold reserves in the world. The dollar was pegged at $35 an ounce — and freely exchangeable into gold at that rate. But by 1971, convertibility into gold was no longer viable as America’s gold resources drained away. Instead, the dollar became a pure fiat currency (decoupled from any physical store of value), until the petrodollar agreement was concluded by President Nixon in 1973.

The essence of the deal was that the U.S. would agree to military sales and defense of Saudi Arabia in return for all oil trade being denominated in U.S. dollars.

As a result of this agreement, the dollar then became the only medium in which energy exchange could be transacted. This underpinned its reserve currency status through the need for foreign governments to hold dollars; recirculated the dollar costs of oil back into the U.S. financial system and — crucially — made the dollar effectively convertible into barrels of oil. The dollar was moved from a gold standard onto a crude oil standard.

U.S. interest rates were then managed so that oil exporters (who formerly looked to gold as the basis of their reserves) would be indifferent to whether they stored their currency reserves, earned from oil exports, in U.S. treasuries, or in gold. The value was equivalent

Interestingly, prior to being elected President of the United States, Donald Trump was strongly in favor of calling out the Saudi government for their support of terrorism and their prospective role in the events of 9/11, as elicited in the 28 pages – a secret report that provides clear insight into Saudi governmental funding of the hijackers.

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Sanders pulled no punches in his denunciation of the oppressive Saudi monarchy.

“I consider [Saudi Arabia] to be an undemocratic country that has supported terrorism around the world, it has funded terrorism. … They are not an ally of the United States,” Sanders told The Intercept.

The former presidential candidate labeled the ruling regime as “incredibly anti-democratic” and noted that the Saudis “continuing to fund madrasas” and spreading “an extremely radical Wahhabi doctrine in many countries around the world.”

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“They are fomenting a lot of hatred,” Sanders said.

Coincidentally, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, who broke ranks with the Democrats during the presidential election primaries to support Sanders in his run for the presidency, also took aim at the Saudi government on social media.

Gabbard, who went on a fact-finding mission to Syria this year, came back with a drastically different perception of what is actually transpiring in that country, as she noted that “there are no moderate rebels,” in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper upon her return.

“I’ll tell you what I heard from the Syrian people I met with, Jake, walking down the streets in Aleppo, in Damascus, hearing from them,” Gabbard said.

“They expressed happiness and joy seeing an American walking through their streets but they also asked why the U.S. and its allies are providing support and arms to terrorist groups like al-Nusra, al-Qaeda or al-Sham, ISIS who are on the ground there, raping, kidnapping, torturing and killing the Syrian people,” she continued.

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“They asked me, ‘Why is the United States and its allies supporting these terrorist groups that are destroying Syria when it was al-Qaeda who attacked the United States on 9/11, not Syria.’ I didn’t have an answer for them.”

The congresswoman then introduced the so-called the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, that aimed to protect US taxpayers’ dollars from being spent on supporting and arming international terrorist groups through covert operations and third states.

The bill was intended to end to the US practice of indirectly sponsoring terrorism. In particular, the act sought to make it illegal for any US government agency to assist extremist groups directly or indirectly in any way shape or form, be it through the sale of weapons, field training, or intelligence assistance.

Furthermore, the act would have made it illegal for Washington to provide assistance to any third nation that sponsors terrorism – which would have clearly affected the Saudis, as they are the most prolific state sponsor of terrorism in the world.

To show how powerful the US allegiance to terrorism is, the House bill sponsored by Gabbard, picked up only 13 additional sponsors and the Senate bill introduced by Rand Paul, picked up exactly zero sponsors. That means that 2% of Congress is showing support for a bill that would prevent the US from arming terrorist groups.

During the interview with The Intercept, Sanders called for a “rethink, in terms of American foreign policy … vis-a-vis Iran and Saudi Arabia,” suggesting that the United States potentially make a foreign policy move away from traditional ally Saudi Arabia, and consider improving relations with Iran.

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Sanders noted, that Saudi Arabia “has played a very bad role internationally, but we have sided with them time and time and time again, and yet Iran, which just held elections, Iran, whose young people really want to reach out to the West, we are … continuing to put them down.”

And while admitting that he had “legitimate concerns … about Iran’s foreign policy” he said he’d like to see a more “even-handed” approach from the United States to the “Iran and Saudi conflict.”

While the American public has over the years been steadily indoctrinated into believing that Iran is the enemy, reality dictates that it is actually the Saudi government that propagates and exports the extremist version of Islam that extolls the virtues of jihad, while simultaneously supporting violent terrorist groups across the world.

Without question, Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard are spot on with their criticisms of US foreign policy as related to Saudi Arabia and their arming of terrorist groups.
Please share this story to help wake others up to the fact that the US supports a terrorist state in Saudi Arabia!

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Jay Syrmopoulos is a geopolitical analyst, freethinker, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs and holds a BA in International Relations. Jay's writing has been featured on both mainstream and independent media - and has been viewed tens of millions of times. You can follow him on Twitter @SirMetropolis and on Facebook at SirMetropolis.