Why Is The West Silent On Saudi Arabia’s Sponsorship Of Sunni Terrorism?

by Anand - Oct 23, 2017 05:34 PM +05:30 IST
Why Is The West Silent On Saudi Arabia’s Sponsorship Of Sunni Terrorism?Obama

Islamist terror is nothing but Sunni terror which is ideologically and financially rooted in Saudi Arabia. Pity the West chooses to side with a country whose sponsorship of terror has done most harm to its citizens.

When Saudi king Abdullah died earlier this year, everyone from President Obama to his rival, hawk and head of Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain paid glowing tributes to the man.

Exactly what is the contribution of this man or indeed this country to the world at large is a mystery to me. The same McCain went around with his quip that “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.” He was talking about the Russia that has an enviable track record in space, rich literature, classical music, ballet, stellar Olympic achievements and much more. If Russia is a gas station, what is Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia is the wellspring of modern day terror. Fox News, the mouthpiece of the establishment Republican hawks, had its various hosts berating Obama for not calling that terrorism what it is – “Islamist terrorism”.

This was repeated by Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas during the first Republican debate to an enthusiastic applause.


Well, while pinpointing blame they should have been even more specific. The correct term is “Sunni terror” or more precisely Salafist Sunni terror. And this terror is ideologically and financially rooted in Saudi Arabia.

Here are the facts. Other than the Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon by Hezbollah that could be attributed to Shias, there are no other Shia attacks on Western targets (I am not including the continued battle between Israel and Hezbollah where Hezbollah have targeted Israeli civilians).

The Saudi band of Sunni terrorism is however global in nature stretching from Philippines to Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Europe and the United States. Its targets are of all hues – other Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Atheists and so on.

Well known and worth repeating is that 15 of the 19 hijackers in the world trade center attacks were Saudi citizens. The most dangerous groups – Al Qaeda, Islamic State, SIMI, Jemaah Islamiyah, ASG – are all Sunni groups.

There was outrage among the hawks that the Obama administration did not label the Fort Hood shooting as an act of Islamist terror. Well, the reality is that was Sunni terror.

So was the London bombings, Madrid bombings, attack on the Indian Parliament, the Bombay terror attack, the Boston marathon bombing, the Charlie Hebdo killings, the Chattanooga shooting etc.

Sunni groups have repeatedly attacked Shias in Pakistan, Iraq, Bahrain and elsewhere. In Indonesia they have attacked the Ahmadiyyas, another sect in Islam, burning down their mosques. How many times have we come across a report of a Shia attack on a Sunni mosque or a Shia attacking Ahmadiyyas or Sufis in modern times?

That the Saudis have historic enmity with Iran is known. It is perplexing why in this battle the West should choose the side that has done most harm to its citizens and ideologically most vehemently opposed to its way of life.

Here the enemy is more an aspiring regional power and enemy’s enemy is definitely not a friend. Iran cannot be blamed for taking advantage of President Bush’s colossal blunder and stepping into Iraq, a country of Shia majority.

President Obama at least deserves credit for looking at the reality as it is and trying to move the American minds beyond the events of 1979. The faith of the West in Saudi Arabia is from its cozy relationship with a few at the top of the “Royal Family”. But there are dozens of other “Royals” spreading the money around to promote extremist views around the world and funding terror groups including the Islamist State.

This is a double act that will put the likes of Aldrich Ames and Kim Philby to shame. It is difficult to believe the best strategists in the West are that naive or deliberately blind or corrupt.

I have seen at first hand the impact of Saudi money in the five years I have been living in Indonesia – the country with the largest Muslim population in the world. There are unconfirmed reports that Indonesian women are paid monthly to wear the Jilbabs (as the Hijab or the head scarf is called) and the number of women sporting Hijab has grown rapidly in recent years.

Where there was one mosque per Kampung (village) there are now 3 or 4 competing in ever higher decibels with Salafist trained, Saudi-returned Imams. The result is of increasing piety: violence against other Muslim groups. Luckily, this country has a deep rooted peaceful and easy going culture predating Islam. But the poison is certainly spreading.

When it comes to the critical issue of nuclear weapons, the Saudis already have a large arsenal at its disposal—sitting in Pakistan—in Iran’s backyard. That it served Pakistan’s purpose against India made it easier to bankroll the acquisition of nuclear weapons by and via an ideological slave state.

While the shrill voices of supposed hawks scream at the proposed deal with Shia Iran, the Saudi Sunnis continue to push their twin quests for extending Salafi influence (and an unhinged global violence as a consequence) and defeat of Iran.

Certainly President Obama’s strategic shift towards Iran seems entirely rational and defensible while the silence of the hawks when it comes to Saudi Arabia is lamentable.

Anand heads investments for a large business group in Indonesia and has previously held leadership roles at a global investment bank.

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