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Confront Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia to root out terrorism

SOLLY RAKGOMO
Two weeks ago I was invited to the Gabz Fm studio by Brother Gabriel Rasengwatse, the host of the midweek morning show where we discussed the burning issue of terrorism, the relationship between extremist terror groups like ISIS and Al Queda to Saudi Arabia.

Time was our main enemy as we couldn’t discuss the whole issues at length and teach the local population and beyond on the role that Saudi Arabia plays in spreading an extremist Wahhabi ideology which is fountain head of global terrorism. I write this article with a strong feeling that it is time for an honest conversation about Wahhabism, specifically the part this Saudi-sponsored ideology plays in radicalising young Muslims both across the Arab and Muslim world, Africa and in the West, where in the UK people are dealing with the aftermath of yet another terrorist attack (London this time) in which innocent civilians were butchered and injured.

The US, British and French governments can no longer credibly claim to be serious about fighting terrorism or religious extremism while cozying up to what is a medieval kleptocracy in Saudi Arabia. Just days prior to the attack in London it was reported by security analysts and media houses that UK government enquiry into the role of Saudi money in funding terrorism is likely to be shelved, due to the sensitive nature of its findings.  Professor John Wight says the report was originally commissioned at the behest of the Liberal Democrats, while in coalition government with the Tories back in 2015. It was sanctioned by then Prime Minister David Cameron in return for Lib Dem parliamentary support for British airstrikes in Syria. Given that the British government just signed £3.5 billion worth of arms export licences to Saudi Arabia, the suppression of the report’s findings is a scandal.

The Saudis have long enjoyed diplomatic and political support from successive British and American governments, based on its largesse as the biggest customer of UK and US arms sales, which according to the UK-based organisation, Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), and has been worth billions since 2015. Some of the weapons sold to the Saudis are being used in its on-going war in Yemen, where its forces have been engaged in war crimes and crimes against humanity. Prof Wight also mentions that there are also the billions invested by Saudi government into London, especially in the city’s lucrative property market. Money, as everyone knows, buys influence, including political influence, which is where the UK discern the pristine and unalloyed hypocrisy involved in demonising Russia, Syria, and Iran, the countries that are in the front line against this medieval poison, while courting Saudi, Qatari, and other Gulf State business and money, where state-sanctioned imams spew out hate speech against ‘apostates’ and ‘infidels’ on a regular basis.

The most concerning development in recent years, however, vis-à-vis Saudi influence in the West, is the extent to

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which Saudi Arabia has been funding the building of mosques as a way of promoting its ultra-conservative and puritanical interpretation of Islam, one completely incompatible with the 21st century (Wahhabism). I remember in 2015 where a German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel came out in public and accused the Saudis of funding mosques in which extremism is regularly promoted. In an interview with one German Magazine, Gabriel said, “We have to make clear to the Saudis that the time of looking away is over. Wahhabi mosques all over the world are financed by Saudi Arabia. Many Islamists who are a threat to public safety come from these communities in Germany.”

Religious sectarianism and rigid adherence to an anti-human seventh century doctrine underpins what passes for justice in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia itself.

Here we are talking about a country in which people are regularly and ritually beheaded, flogged, and even crucified for transgressing the law. In 2016 alone Saudi Arabia carried out 154 executions. According to Prof Wight, many of those for non-violent crimes.

Yet, regardless, for those who claim the mantle of democracy and human rights, slavishly defending the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its vile and barbaric practices has long been a received truth. Let us be clear: Britain and US longstanding alliance with Saudi Arabia benefits nobody apart from UK   and US arms companies and their shareholders.

It is undeniably an alliance inimical to these countries’ security, bringing its entire political establishment into disrepute as a consequence. Three terrorist attacks in a space of three months carried out in the UK, in which civilians have been slaughtered, is an unacceptable price to pay for a foreign policy which at best is informed by cognitive dissonance and at worst sheer unadulterated mendacity.

Western governments cannot have it both ways; they cannot expect to defeat terrorism and protect their citizens while continuing to refuse to grasp the issue by its roots. The world is dealing with a malignant ideology, one that whether associated with Daesh, Jabat al Nusra, or Saudi Arabia is the same.

That this ideology has grown in traction in recent years is now self-evident, thus begging the question: what are we going to do about it? People have the right to go out and enjoy themselves without being slaughtered. It is a fundamental right that unites people in London, Moscow, Paris, and Damascus.

Those who would seek to deny them this right are the enemy of humanity and must be regarded and treated accordingly. Make no mistake: the head of this Salafi-jihadi snake (wahhabism) resides in Saudi Arabia, a country wrongfully supported by western governments.



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