Recently CBS 60 Minutes' Charlie Rose interviewed Bashir al-Assad. President of Syria. If you watch the replay of that interview on their web site, Assad responding to a question about support for ISIS by the Syrian people by saying, “They have lost. Except the very ideological people who have Wahhabi state of mind and ideology.” Rose (or the editor) then moves on to an unrelated question about civilian casualties without follow up to the ideology of Wahhabism.
My immediate reaction while watching this is that Rose has no clue what Wahhabism is all about. Later Asad (not Rose) brings up the Saudis and Wahhabism again. From later in the interview (full transcript here):
Charlie Rose: Can you talk about the parties involved? And characterize how you see them. Let me begin with Saudi Arabia.
President Assad: Saudi Arabia is--an (unintel) autocracy. Medieval system that's based on the Wahhabi dark ideology. Actually, say it's a marriage between the Wahhabi and the political system for 200 years now. That's how we look at it.
Charlie Rose: And what is their connection to ISIS?
President Assad: The same ideology. The same background.
Charlie Rose: So ISIS and Saudi Arabia are one and the same?
President Assad: The same ideology. Yes.
Charlie Rose: Same ideology.
President Assad: I don't-- it's Wahhabi ideology. They base the--their ideology is based on the books of the Wahhabi and Saudi Arabia.
Charlie Rose: So you believe that all Wahhabis have the same ideology as ISIS--
President Assad: Exactly. Definitely. And that's by ISIS, by al Qaeda, by al Nusra. It's not something we discover or we try to promote. It's very-- I mean their book-- they use the same books to indoctrinate the people. The Wahhabi books-
Charlie Rose: What about Turkey?
Rose quickly moves on to the next question on his list, Turkey, another US ally that is doing squat to interdict volunteers traveling through their country to join ISIS. He totally misses the key to most of the Sunni based terrorism in the middle east today of which ISIS is just one proponent, that is the Wahhbi ideology that the Saudi Arabian “Kingdom” actively promotes with its oil dollars throughout the region and inside Europe (e.g. Kosovo, Macedonia, etc). From PBS's Frontline website:
For more than two centuries, Wahhabism has been Saudi Arabia's dominant faith. It is an austere form of Islam that insists on a literal interpretation of the Koran. Strict Wahhabis believe that all those who don't practice their form of Islam are heathens and enemies. Critics say that Wahhabism's rigidity has led it to misinterpret and distort Islam, pointing to extremists such as Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. Wahhabism's explosive growth began in the 1970s when Saudi charities started funding Wahhabi schools (madrassas) and mosques from Islamabad to Culver City, California.
Does that sound like the kind of terrorism we've been dealing with for the past 15 years or so? You can read transcripts and other material here; the page is called Saudi Time Bomb. Time Bomb indeed. Perhaps someone could forward that link to Mr. Rose or the CBS staff so he can educate himself.
Had he understood the nature of Wahhabism and the threat it poses to the United States perhaps he and his liberal cohorts at CBS might be prepared to question more thoroughly why the United States is allied with it's most implacable enemy, Saudi Arabia. He might have explored this more thoroughly with Assad. But between his masters in Riyadh and Tel Aviv, there is little chance of these questions ever being asked by this group of journalists.
Unfortunately if Mr Rose is uneducated about Wahhabism, he is not alone. Journalists are much like public school teachers in their preparation. Journalists, especially those in TV, are trained to write or deliver good prose that most 8th graders can understand and deliver it in visually pleasing fashion. Understanding the content is not a high priority. Reading off of a teleprompter is a more valuable skill. Public school teachers labor under similar strictures. They are made to undergo all manner of “education training” but mastery of the subject they are teaching is low on their master's priorities. Coupled with working under vast bureaucratic managements, the end result is bored, turned off students. With a similar response by the viewing public to glitzy news programming with minimal substance, is it any wonder people are generally not well informed.