Interview 1112 – William Engdahl Explains the Context of the Paris Attacks

by | Nov 18, 2015 | Interviews | 7 comments

F. William Engdahl of joins us today to give his perspective on the Paris attacks. We discuss the historical background to what is taking place now in Syria, how it plays into the current geopolitical agenda of the US/NATO military powers, and what it means for France, Syria and the world moving forward.


William Engdahl (WE)—“It’s madness. I think there are some mad people in this world who want to stir-up Muslims to create terror and use that as an excuse to extend their military power. I just think that is not a very healthy way for mankind to go forward in the 21st Century.”

James Corbett (JC): Welcome friends. James Corbett here, Today is the 17th of November 2015 and I am honored to be joined on the line once again by a man who will need no introduction to my regular listeners and core audience, namely F. William Engdahl of, a prolific author and commentator on world events, geopolitics, oil and all of the things that are making the world turn one way or another. He is, of course, the author of a Century of War, Full Spectrum Dominance, The Gods of Money, Target China, Seeds of Destruction, Myths Lies and Oil Wars and many other articles and pieces of information. F. William Engdahl it is always a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you for joining us today.

WE: Good to be with you, James.

JC: Of course the news that is on everyone’s mind at the moment is the recent events in Paris and how that ties into what is currently taking place in Syria—a topic that I know you’ve been covering in a great degree of detail for a number of years now. And how this tends to tie into a number of subjects you cover in your, including of course, the Oil Wars with the disruption of the proposed Iran/Iraq/Syria gas/oil pipeline. Let’s talk about the real roots of what is happening in Syria and where this is likely to go, given the events that are now taking place in Paris and elsewhere.

WE: I think the best way to look at what’s going on today in Syria is to go back to early years of George W. Bush, Dick Chaney, Donald Rumsfeld and company, Paul Wolfowitz (the author of the Wolfowitz Doctrine in 1992). There they laid out a plan called the Greater Middle East Project of 2003. It was presented to the G-7 member countries and there were huge protests from Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf countries when the details of this began to leak out. Because it was calling for a reorganization of the political map of the Middle East–something that hadn’t been done since WWI when the so-called allied victors carved up the Middle East at their will and divided it among the French and among the British and so forth.

The Project called for regime change in 7 countries. This had been made public sometime ago by General Wesley Clark. Those plans were in the Pentagon War Room desk back in 2001 after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. So, this goes back quite a way and it’s tied into the so-called Neo Conservatives, the NeoCons because they are con people. The strategy ties into the U.S. military industrial complex. It ties into the American oligarchs, as I call them, the Rockefellers, the George Sorrels and whatnot. It’s a strategy to control Europe and China, ultimately. Indirectly, at that point, to control Russia which was then just struggling to stay alive after the debacle of the Yeltsin decade. And the idea was to break up the monarchies, the established monarchies, that they had created in WWI or after WWI with ?? and other things—to break that up and to replace it, essentially, with their own trained brotherhood networks. The Muslim Brotherhood, we should take just a second on that because it will be detailed in my newest book which comes out toward the end of the year—The Lost Hegemon Whom the Gods Would Destroy—the hegemon is, of course, the United States using radicalized Arab terrorists, or terrorists who call themselves…or Islamic I should say, not Arab.

The Muslim Brotherhood was created in 1926 in Egypt as a death cult. It wasn’t created as some holy off-shoot interpretation of the Koran. It was created by Hassan al-Banna, a school teacher, a modest school teacher, from the remote parts of Egypt as a death cult. And, literally, it had assassin squads and so forth. It tried to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nassar in the 50’s and was banned. Well, they then were brought by the CIA in the 1950’s into Saudi Arabia where the monarch there was convinced by Miles Copeland, the station chief in Cairo, that the Muslim Brotherhood would be a very, very good addition to the ultra-conservative Wahhabite that dominated the Saudi mosque. So, the fusion of political Islam with ultra-conservative ideology that women should not be allowed to drive cars; that they have to wear burkas all the time; that they should always be accompanied by a male relative when they go out in public and so forth; and that there should be no idols to blasphemy Allah. Well, that was combined with an aggressive radical political agenda to take power, to create a sultanate, if you will, that would have the political state run by this ultra-conservative Islam. So that was the state of affairs. The Saudis had the money through the oil. So they were financing the Muslim Brotherhood to set up madrasas in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan. This was in the 50’s and in the 60’s and so forth. And the CIA was always in the background watching this and thinking of ways they could use it against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Well, in 1979 Zbigniew Brzezinski and the CIA get together and come up with a plan called mujaheddin. First, they provoked a Russian invasion, a Red Army Soviet invasion—not invasion—they were brought on invitation of the pro-Moscow government because mujaheddin had starting creating terror acts and various other things were going on that the US was fostering behind the scenes. So, they brought the Soviets into a bear trap called Afghanistan. They trained the mujaheddin in Pakistan through the Pakistan intelligence (ISI) and they brought a Saudi, a rather wealthy Saudi, from a family well tied to the Bush family and well tied to the Saudi monarchy and Saudi intelligence head called Osama bin Laden. He was responsible for recruiting Jihadists, in other words terrorists, from all over the world and bringing them to Afghanistan—actually they brought them to Pakistan and then trained them and sent them over the border—and that was the mujaheddin. It was a project of the CIA’s and Osama bin Laden’s network. Well, after ten years and ultimately the Red Army left Afghanistan. That was a huge defeat and the Vietnam of the Soviet Union. They were exhausted financially and militarily.

The CIA then said, OK. Soviet Union, a couple of years later collapsed. That was in 1989. So ‘90-’91 Yeltsin becomes President of the Russian Federation (the CIA project BTW was Yeltsin) and the CIA air freights the leading Muja Hadine and others into Chechnya where a Soviet-era pipeline went from Baku, Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea with oil of Baku up through Russia and from there it could go on to Western Europe and the world markets as Russian oil. Well, Washington wanted a different pipeline. They wanted British Petroleum, Atlantic Richfield—the American and British oil companies to control the oil of Baku. They made a coup in Azerbaijan so that a pro-American puppet, the Aliyev Family, (the father and then later the son), they would route the oil through a Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (into Ceyhan in Turkey on the Turkish coast) and from there onto the world market. So they would rob the Russian Federation of the control over that pipeline. That was called the Chechen Wars of the early 90’s. At that point, Russia was in no shape to do much about it; it was a debacle. That was the CIA’s Muslin Brotherhood project in Chechnya.

At the same time in the 90’s they brought them into Bosnia to make Jihad against the Serbs in the Yugoslav civil war that the United States orchestrated from behind the scenes—another one of these lead from behind debacles. You could just trace the thing right on down to the creation in Iraq by General David Petraeus, a very nasty fellow, of the terror squads that became Al Qaeda in Iraq and later morphed into something called, conveniently, ISIS at first. This is an interesting thing: It was called the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Then a couple of Israel journalists pointed out on a television interview that the abbreviation for the Israeli Mossad used in communications with Western intelligence was precisely the Israeli secret intelligence service, ISIS. So suddenly without warning the name got shortened to IS, the Islamic State.

JC: To be fair it’s been known by dozen of Arabic names which of course have their own Arabic alliterations, not the abbreviations are used in English. But that is kind of funny, if not a particularly significant piece of information. But, just to back up the historical parallels that you are drawing there for example with the Muslim Brotherhood from whose ranks sprang Ayman Al-Zawahiri, rounded up after the Sadat assassination who ended up becoming Osama bin Laden’s right hand man currently heading Al Qaeda which fostered Al Qaeda in Iraq, which became ISIS. The parallels are many. Of course Western intelligence is in every single one of those stages of development of this, the rise of these radical terror groups.

I guess this brings us to the question specifically in Syria. What if this is a sort of terrorist proxy army used to Western intelligence. What is it being used for specifically in Syria?

WE: Well, in Syria you have a number of complicated factors. One is, traditionally, the Arab Middle East was run by three groups. Egypt Mubarak, Syria the Assad Family and Saudi Arabia. Well, Mubarak was gone in a US color revolution called the Arab Spring. Then they put a Muslim Brotherhood puppet in there called Amit Morsi. He didn’t last so long, but that was the US strategy. They were quite upset when the Elysee Coup took place a couple of years ago. Syria has this leading, stabilizing role in the Middle East historically. You have Alawite Islam living side by side with Sunni Islam with Shia Islam and with Christians in Syria for centuries. So you have this multi-cultural, multi-religious State.

The other complicating factor is its geopolitical geography—where it is. It lies on a route, one of its neighbors is Iraq, of course, and Iraq’s neighbor is Iran. So Iran having part of the largest gas field in the world, larger than even anything in Siberia, called the North Pars Field. Iran was in negotiation with Iraq and with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in 2009-2010 to build, as you reference, the Iran/Iraq/Syria gas pipeline that would bring Iranian gas into the European market ultimately, through Lebanon or through Syrian ports. Well, before that happened in 2009 the Emir of Qatar came to Damascus to talk with Bashar al-Assad and proposed an alternative gas pipeline because the other half of that Persian Gulf gas field happens to be in the territorial waters of, none other than Qatar where Doha, the US military base for the region are also conveniently located. And the Qataries wanted to get a gas pipeline going from Saudi Arabia up into Syria and from there onto the European markets. Bashar al-Assad said, “No, I respect the relationship between Syria and Russia and we have our negotiations with Gaszprom on any having to do with gas and we do not want to get involved.”

After that, all hell broke loose in Syria. Saudi money, Qatari money, Gulf Arab money generally, was financing Sunni groups to make war on the Alawite Bashar al-Assad. BTW, Bashar al-Assad’s wife happens to be a Sunni Muslim. That gives you an indication that this is not a religious fanaticism in Bashar’s case at all. The United States, because of this agenda of Muslim Brotherhood regimes and these key places in the Middle East, the Arab Spring agenda, wanted them to get rid of Bashar al-Assad because he was a definite thorn in the way. Russia has a military base in Tarsus on the Mediterranean coast, the only one of the Mediterranean. They decided to dig in their heels and defend the Assad government. Well, it has evolved from there. There is a complicating factor that ties directly into to the Paris bombings, I think. That is the fact that Alain Juppé, originally Sarkozy and his top military advisors, and others in the French establishment had a fantasy about a Sykes-Picot number two or Sykes-Picot mock two where France would again become a neo-colonial power in the Middle East, regain a redrawn Syria and regain Lebanon. They were behind the cause to get rid of Bashar al-Assad most vehemently. They were agitating even when the US backed away from this. Obama backed away from this. And even when the British backed away from the same thing and realized it was getting far too complicated with Russia and China both standing in the way. The French having a talent for geo-political cock-ups in history, if you look at WWI, if you look at the occupation of the Ruhr in 1923, if you look at the job they did in 1931 to bankrupt the Creditanstalt in Vienna that led to the collapse of the world financial system and WWII. Well, they are fanatical on this agenda it seems. Now 24-hours with incredible alacrity, incredible speed the Hollande government in Paris has started a bombing war in Syria. Of course, they don’t have permission of the legitimate government of Syria to come in and bomb it. They are just doing it. So, it’s a very, very complex situation. Russia and China both have dug their heels in on this. Russian President Putin’s speech at the UN General Assembly in September laid it out quite clearly that the UN Charter has certain stipulations when countries can have other military attack them or attack their territories and that’s what Russia is doing is in accordance with the UN Charter. They were invited by the elected government of Assad to help them because ISIS was really making headway. It seems, and this is exposed by the Russian bombing campaigns at the end of September, that 13-15 months of US strategic bombing against ISIS only served the curious purpose of expanding the territory that ISIS controlled. A US General was supposed to admit Congressional testimony two weeks back that for a ½ billion dollars or a several hundred millions dollars of so-called training for moderate opposition, the US can only account for four or five trained opposition soldiers that are still working with the US.

JC: And what is the number one source of independent income, independent from the Gulf States for ISIS? OIL, of course.

WE: ISIS is the oil, right. And Arduan’s son is getting the oil out through Turkey. So that gives you an idea.

JC: Yes, exactly, through networks that were even established during the war, but especially in the last couple of years. Just to further underscore the point of France’s culpability in this the point that they, in 2014, experienced their best year for arms exports in the last 15-years. The arms exports rose 18%. Their number one customer, of course? Saudi Arabia. With Qatar not far behind. So there again, we know that Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been directly responsible for funding the rebels, the “moderate” rebels, ha, ha, ha, in Syria. And of course this all leads…

WE: That’s all Al Qaeda

JC: Exactly, that’s political blather. So, of course, that leads to what we saw in Paris just over the weekend. All of this seems connected in that historical continuity that we’ve been drawing through this conversation. So let’s extend this outward from here. Where do you see this going, given what we’ve seen with Russian’s intervention in recent months and now this new push for intervention?

WE: Yes. I think the Paris bombing, I wouldn’t even call it a false flag, I would call it a no-flag attempt to whip up public opinion to support a military assault on Syria, boots on the grounds—French boots, what other boots they persuade to come with them. I’d spoken to a veteran camera journalist, a photographer, who was sent by one of the international networks to go to Paris immediately within hours of the bombing attacks. He told me he was there as a camera man covering the Chechen terror. He was there covering the Beslan School Massacre. He was there as a camera man for all the war situations over the last 20+ years. So, he has quite a bit of experience in covering bombing and things like that. He said this was the most bizarre scene of a terror attack that he’d ever tried to photograph. He showed me a picture. It was one of the restaurants where supposedly many people were shot with Kalashnikovs from these mass terrorists. All he was allowed to see by these special police, the security police, was to stand behind a row of carefully placed chairs touching each other with backs. Through the upper part of that, he couldn’t photograph down, through the upper part all you could see were these uniformed police moving around—so looking very “policey”. At one point they pulled up a cloth that had something that looked like blood on it. But you never could see a body. All of the pictures on the internet, that I’ve been able to find, you don’t see anything. There are records of the German football (players) which were inside the stadium when these bombs were supposedly going off, Tweeting back and forth to their family and friends back in German or wherever throughout the whole course of the events. There is no mention: “OMG, I just heard an explosion.” There is not one word of that until after it was announced that there was this bomb attack and then they refer to that but they did not know what was going on. So they were told to stay in the stadium overnight for security. So the whole thing begins to stink to high heaven.

JC: Are you suggesting that people didn’t die in Paris?

WE: I don’t know who died or who didn’t die. I’m suggesting that perhaps this was not the greatest terrorist attack in French history. Of course, they could go back to the Algerian civil war and various other things where they had their share of that. More and more my gut feeling, or my feminine intuition if you would to call it that, tells me that this was engineered to whip-up hysteria for a French military. How are you going to deal with something like six of these terrorist who were French Nationals living in France and Belgium—how are you going to deal with that by bombing a site in Syria if you have all these sleeper cells disbursed around France…

JC: And of course, when this inevitably turns toward the toppling of Assad, as it will, why would the toppling of Assad, who has been one of the prime forces fighting ISIS be helpful in getting rid of ISIS. It makes no sense on its face, but this is the logic that is being thrust.

WE: That’s the brilliance of the French strategy, it seems to be Juppé and others. So, it’s madness. I think there are some mad people in this world who want to stir-up Muslims to create terror and use that as an excuse to extend their military power. I just think that is not a very healthy way for mankind to go forward in the 21st century.

JC: Well, we can all agree on that. Regardless of what happened in Paris or how it happened, it is certainly being used to that agenda, not only to extend the war agenda in Syria but also to extend the war on terror home front with the now Holland’s calling for amendments to the Constitution to allow for more sweeping police powers. So I think we know, unfortunately, how this story unfolds as we saw it in America 15-yrs ago.

WE: There’s one additional aspect to this. You asked how it would unfold in my view. At this point, judging from the talks that took place at the G-20 meeting in Antalya, Turkey yesterday where you had Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin sitting down for intensive discussion, pictures of them and they were serious discussions they weren’t these pictures of two kids turning away from looking at each other that we had two years ago or so. You had discussions between Putin and Erdogan, Putin and the King of Saudi Arabia. Pretty much everyone wanted to talk to Putin about Syria. This does not sound like the other members of NATO are chomping at the bit to join France on the ground. France’s Hollande is calling for others countries to help because we don’t have enough troops to do it alone. So far nobody has stepped up to the plate. I would watch that very closely because I think France may find itself out on a limb that’s beginning to crack.

JC: Well, this is obviously a developing story. There’s obviously a lot more information coming out as we speak and will continue to do so. People can follow your work at I know you write for a number of publications including the New Eastern Outlook. All of your articles and books can be found there. So, we’ll include that link in the show notes for this interview. William Engdhal, thank you very much for your time today.

WE: Thank you.


  1. In response to Engdahl’s final point about France seeking out willing allies to join in a ground war, I’ve seen stuff circulating on WikiLeaks about the following:

    NATO Article 5 – WikiLeaks claimed the Hollande speech was “carefully worded to trigger NATO’s Article 5” which would force allies to consider the attack on France as an affront on all allies. It does not, however, appear that this is going to be effective.

    Article 42.7 of the EU treaty – This one seems more likely, not sure where I saw it originally, but it “says that all EU countries have ‘an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power’ to any member that is the ‘victim of armed aggression'”

    • Regarding 42.7 i reluctantly have to admit Sweden has disgraced themselves utterly by responding to frances’ request for military suppprt with a resounding “yes, of course! ” after about 1 second of thinking (sorry reacting). At least we previously tried to portray ourselves as a bastion of peace and conflict mediation. We already have 35 military advisors (aka special forces) on the ground training the kurdish peshmmergas. So why the heck not!? Oppose Nato membership? We’re in this shit already…

      On another note Sweden raised their terror threat level from 3 to 4 (5 highest). This means increased surveillance and more policing. And of course a remarkable opportunity to brainwash the population even further. The level of mind control is astounding. One would think the even was in Stockholm considering the 24/7 fearmongering. The prime minister is even on air talking about terrorists on cellphone saying “now we go to Skype”. Therefore Skype surveillance is necessary… The level of absurdity makes planet 9 from outer space seem as reputable and qualitative piece of film.

  2. Cui bono? Those that want to censor the internet for sure. I heard this little bit of propaganda on KNX radio in Los Angeles. The “reporter” had an FBI guy on the hot seat and made this argument. “Anonymous has declared war on Isis and has hacked many of their web sites, How come they can take down web sites and the FBI can’t…”

  3. When I saw there is an interview with W.Engdahl I expected that would be interesting.
    But after…I was disappointed with him, especially when he started talking about photographer’s experience of Paris crime scene. I don’t think he was making things up. When he was confronted with James’s question: “Are you suggesting that people didn’t die in Paris” he didn’t dare to speak out the only logical conclusion from his just given expose. And his answer show he was caught somehow unprepared. Indeed, there are images, which show that some crime scenes look like being staged and we should not rule out this possibility.

    • This is to me, a lot more obvious than the Boston Bombing, where Craft’s sudden appearance after the 2 cooker bombs went off at the same time is still weird and inexplicable (we don’t have enough evidence). Also the fire at the JFK Library at the same time. There were terror drills at the marathon ad at the JFK library.

  4. Sarkozy did that with Gaddafi too, but at least he was arrested and had some trouble later one related to that (illegal contribution money to his last election).

  5. thank you Al Saleh for pointing out the elephant in the room with regard to pipeline analysis by Engdahl and others–2009 is late in the game

    2007 Hersh talks in the Redirection about a plan to use Islamic terrorists to destroy Syria

    2006 the Golanis weep after humiliation by Hezbo, the myth of sabra manliness is destroyed, the sadistic Israeli attack on Lebanon fails

    the war on Syria has to be seen in the context of the Yinon plan, and specifically the effort to destroy Hezbo.

    Palestine has been destroyed, Iraq has been destroyed, Israel now seeks to destroy Syria, largely in order to deprive Hezbo of supply lines. a diverse and millennial nation is being subjected to genocide by sectarian, criminal, and mercenary freaks, directed by state services, on behalf of a racial supremacist national ideology.

    while western punditry, mainstream and “alternative,” seek to evade this insane reality, Nasrallah and the swarthy natives are not obliged to play along. if left with no alternative, they are unlikely to follow the script–

Submit a Comment


Become a Corbett Report member