THE BLOG

Saudi Contrition Fighting Terrorism: Much Too Little, Much Too Late

08/18/2014 05:40 am ET | Updated Oct 18, 2014

Last week the New York Times ("Saudis Give $100 Million To U.N. Fight On Terrorism" 08.14.14) informed us that Saudi Arabia, increasingly concerned about the spread of Islamist militant extremism reaching its own doorstep, had donated $100 million to the United Nations counterterrorism agency the day before. Thank you, Saudi Arabia. That is the equivalent of what the United States spends daily on keeping a naval flotilla in the Persian Gulf for years on end whose primary mission could have been deemed to be no less than safeguarding the integrity of the Saudi state from the rapacious reach of their Shia neighbor, Iran.

The sum also represents a vast financial sacrifice of Saudi treasure. More precisely it is the equivalent of three hours of Saudi Arabia's s single day's oil export loadings. Saudi Arabia's national oil company, Aramco, exports of oil currently range in the order of 8 million barrels/day and at the current price of more than $100 per barrel, results in cashing in some $800 million daily. $100million represents the income of but three hours of a single day's loading. Irrespective, $100mm is a significant sum, yet compared to the resources dedicated to Saudi Arabia's dissemination of the corrosive mindset through both state and private Saudi initiatives that have resulted in the emergence of religious based fanaticism which is overwhelming the Middle East and now beginning to threaten the world, it is a pitifully penurious token given their means and their years long engagement.

The Washington Institute reported that Saudi citizens continue to represent a significant funding source for Sunni groups operating in Syria. Arab Gulf donors as a whole -- of which the Saudis are believed to be the most charitable -- have funded hundreds of millions to Syria in current years including ISIS. There is significant support for ISIS in Saudi Arabia and ISIS directly targets Saudis with fund raising campaigns. Riyadh could do and could have done much more to limit or foreclose all this private funding.

According to the Financial Times:

"Saudi Arabia not only exports oil, but tanker-loads of quasi-totalitarian religious dogma and pipelines of jihadi volunteers, even as it struggles to insulate itself from the blowback ... But in doctrinal terms it is hard to see in what way it 'deviate' from Wahhabi orthodoxy, with its literalist and exclusivist rendering of Sunni Islam. Its extreme anathematizes other beliefs, in particular practices of Christians and Shia Muslims, as infidel or apostate. That can be read as limitless sanction for jihad."

The article continues: "Yet the kingdom still spews out the corrosive poison that helps religious based fanaticism. The Isis rampage of destruction of shrines and mosques, for instance, continues the two-century old record of Wahhabi iconoclasm."

The Financial Times article further cites the initiatives to achieve Wahhabi outreach by King Fahd, King Abdullah's predecessor, during whose reign 1,359 mosques were built abroad, 202 colleges, 210 Islamic centers and more than 2000 schools. It would appear that Saudi mosque building is powering ahead undaunted under King Abdullah, especially in south, central and southeast Asia, which is home to about 1 billion of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims.

On January 5th, 2013, this space posted "OPEC's Massive $1 Trillion Haul in 2012 While Sowing Jihad," which touched upon the perverse influence of OPEC monies from such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait on the education and formation of young minds in such far flung locations as Zanzibar, sub-Saharan Africa from Somalia to Mali and on to the Balkans where the London Times had reported "Saudis Fund Balkan Muslims Spreading Hate of the West" (03/28/10).

"Saudi Arabia is pouring hundreds of millions of pounds into Islamic groups in the Balkans, some of which spread hatred of the West and recruit fighters for Jihad in Afghanistan ... Islamic fundamentalism threatens to destabilize the Balkans ... Fundamentalist Saudi organizations are clashing with traditionally moderate local Muslim communities."

And the beat goes on.

The question needs be asked, what is Washington doing about this ongoing incitement, or has it continued be lulled into silence by the millions of Saudi contributions to myriad Beltway think tanks and their lobbying influence, or for those fund strapped 'American Presidential Libraries' who have been the recipients of millions of Saudi largesse?