The decision of the Central Intelligence Agency to fund, train, and arm Afghan mujaheddin fundamentalists against the Soviet Union and the socialist government of Afghanistan in the 1980s led directly to the radicalization of French Muslims. It was the CIA’s support for the mujaheddin assistance network known as “Al Qaeda,” or the “database” as revealed by the late British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, that facilitated the expansion of Saudi Wahhabist influence over Muslim communities not only in France but around the world.
Saudi Arabia was the chief source of money for the mujaheddin support network, which later was transformed into the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Al Qaeda, the Islamic State of the Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and various other jihadist groups from Morocco to Kashmir and from the Philippines to Trinidad.
The CIA’s support for Wahhabist- and Saudi- directed and influenced Muslim groups also helped eclipse the left-wing, secular, and socialist loyalties of most of France’s Muslims. Working class Franco-Muslims, especially those from North Africa, were always committed to the French Communist and Socialist parties. In the 1960s and 70s, French Muslims not only supported the French Communists and Socialists but also identified with the left-wing and socialist principles espoused by such North African liberation leaders as Algeria’s Ahmed Ben Bella and Moroccan Istiqlal Socialist leader Mehdi Ben Barka. During the 1980s, when the CIA strove to eliminate support for pan-Arab socialism in the Middle East and worked to crush socialism in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere, the French Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage (External Documentation and Counter-Espionage Service, SDECE) and its successor, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE), worked with the CIA to harass Ben Bella who was living in exile in France.
In 1965, the SDECE worked with the CIA and Israel’s Mossad on behalf of Morocco’s King Hassan II, to kidnap Ben Barka, who lived in exile in France. Ben Barka’s body was never found but Moroccan opposition sources revealed that Ben Barka was decapitated in a manner befitting the CIA-supported ISIL and delivered to Hassan in Rabat in a suitcase. The rest of Ben Barka’s remains were supposedly encased in cement and buried outside of Paris.
The CIA has admitted it maintains 1,800 documents on Ben Barka but it has refused to release them on national security grounds. Ben Barka’s links to Cuba’s Fidel Castro and other Third World leaders made him a primary target for elimination by the CIA.
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