'Epicenter' of al-Qaeda financing: How Saudi Arabia's terror policy backfired

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Nov 13, 2020, 09:05 PM(IST)

File photo: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photograph:( AFP )

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Saudi Arabia has also fuelled terror through charities from the early 90s till the first half of 2006

According to Newton's third law of motion, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

It is a law which applies outside physics too, that is when you create trouble, you invite it home. When you back terror, terror strikes back.

Saudi Arabia should finally realise it. It has sponsored terror for years and backed terrorists, the country has been absolutely unapologetic about it.

Now, the chickens have finally come home to roost with the Saudi embassy being attacked. For years, it was Saudi Arabia that was using its diplomatic missions to spread terror but now the tables have turned.

In 2008, an ex-felon and former al-Qaeda operative named Ali Ahmad Ali Hamad revealed something appalling, he said the Saudi High Commission for aid in Bosnia had hired him and other al-Qaeda members.

They were supplied with vehicles and money during the Bosnian conflict to spread terror and to carry out attacks. It was not a one-off instance. Just two years back Riyadh had turned its embassy in Turkey into a murder chamber. Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the embassy building and his body was dismembered.

Saudi Arabia has also fuelled terror through charities from the early 90s till the first half of 2006, a Saudi Arabia-based charity called the Muslim World League was supporting terror organisations.

Documents later revealed the charity was largely run by members of the Saudi Royal family. The United States has now branded it a terror entity. In 2003, a senior US treasury official declared Saudi Arabia "epicentre" of al-Qaeda financing.

According to one report submitted to the United Nations, al-Qaeda received between $300 to $500 million in ten years from 1992 to 2002.

The report said al-Qaeda got the money by "abusing this pillar of Islam and taking advantage of the Saudi regulatory vacuum". Riyadh has also supported the Taliban. In 1998, former Saudi intelligence chief Turki al Faisal sent a man to hand over a cheque for a billion riyals to a top Taliban official.

Saudi donors and unregulated charities have been financing terrorist groups for 38 years now. The Saudi terror nexus is well documented and now the world is being told every day how Saudi money funded radical Islam in Europe.

Saudi Arabia is home to Islam's holiest sites - Mecca and Madina. For years, Saudi Arabia has enjoyed enormous influence over the world's Muslim community. Saudi Arabia has abused its position and given shelter to terrorists. Riyadh was told to drive them out. In 2017, US. President Donald Trump reiterated this during his visit to the Kingdom.

In the run-up to Indonesia's elections in 2019, local media reported about the troubling expansion of Saudi-backed radicalism which was degrading the country's pluralism.

After the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka, there was a lot of discussion on how radicalism has created a breeding ground for extremism in Sri Lanka. Riyadh-sponsored terror has also struck the Philippines, Chechnya, Nigeria, Kosovo and the West Bank.

Riyadh also funded hate in Europe. However, today, it's embassy there is under attack. Saudi Wahabism shaped the Islamic State's worldview. Now, the Islamic State is striking Saudi cities.

Late last month, a Saudi man was arrested after attacking and wounding a security guard at the French consulate in Jeddah. Two days ago, a cemetary in the city was attacked. The terrorist was targeting the French consul general. He ended up injuring at least one Saudi citizen.

Terror knows no borders but Saudi Arabia sympathised with terror, financed terror and thought it was immune to terror.

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