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Yes, Qatar Supports Terror. But Saudi Arabia’s Hands Are Also Unclean

Aug. 11 2017

While the accusation leveled by Saudi Arabia and its allies that Qatar plays an especially pernicious role in the Middle East is justified, Riyadh does its own part to encourage terrorism both regionally and globally. The Saudis, unlike Qatar, do not shelter or bankroll Hamas and other Muslim Brotherhood organizations, and they do not have anything like Qatar’s Al Jazeera, which propagandizes the overthrow of existing governments by Islamists. Nor does Saudi Arabia have anything akin to Iran’s global terror network. But, Tom Wilson argues, the kingdom encourages jihadism in a different sort of way:

[F]or many years now, . . . a set of beliefs has been advanced from Saudi Arabia that is, by any standard, extremist. The Wahhabi-Salafist belief system is one of religious supremacism, in which the very notion of man-made law, let alone democratic government, is derided.

These beliefs create a worldview that is illiberal, intolerant, and hostile to the West and promote a mindset that makes adherents far more susceptible to the rhetoric of violent Islamist groups and preachers. [Thus] there has been a relentless flow into [European] countries of funding for the promotion of intolerance and the incitement of hatred.

Through the provision of generous scholarships and stipends, a generation of Muslim religious figures traveled from Western countries to Saudi Arabia to be trained in the Wahhabi ideology at institutions like the Islamic University of Medina. Among its alumni is Abu Usamah at-Thahabi, who has preached in British mosques, promoting holy war and the killing of gay men and apostates. Similarly, Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal, who attended Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, has advocated the extermination of unbelievers. . . .

The distribution of extremist texts and literature has been another way that Wahhabi attitudes have spread in Muslim communities in Britain and Europe. . . . Particularly alarming was a 2010 report by the BBC that some 5,000 children in Britain were being taught from the official Saudi school curriculum, with textbooks that showed how to chop off the hands of thieves. These books are so extreme that in 2014 they were adopted as school textbooks by Islamic State.

Read more at New York Times

More about: European Islam, Politics & Current Affairs, Qatar, Radical Islam, Saudi Arabia, Terrorism

 

Getting It Right in Afghanistan

Aug. 23 2017

While praising the president’s announcement Monday night that the U.S. will be sending 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan, Thomas Joscelyn and Bill Roggio express their “doubt [that] this will be enough to win the war.” They also warn against the dangers of a complete or partial American withdrawal and offer some strategic recommendations:

Al-Qaeda is still a significant problem in South Asia—a potentially big one. President Obama frequently claimed that al-Qaeda was “decimated” and a “shadow of its former self” in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That wasn’t true. The Obama administration’s counterterrorism campaign dealt significant blows to al-Qaeda’s leadership, disrupting the organization’s chain of command and interrupting its communications. But al-Qaeda took measures to outlast America’s drones and other tactics. The group survived the death of Osama bin Laden and, in many ways, grew. . . .

Al-Qaeda continues to fight under the Taliban’s banner as well. Its newest branch, Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, is deeply embedded in the Taliban-led insurgency. . . . There’s no question that Islamic State remains a serious problem in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but it still doesn’t threaten the Afghan government to the same degree that the Taliban/al-Qaeda axis does. . . .

Iran remains a problem, too. The Iranian government has supported the Taliban’s insurgency since 2001. Although this assistance is not as pronounced as Pakistan’s, it is meaningful. The U.S. government has also repeatedly noted that Iran hosts al-Qaeda’s “core facilitation pipeline,” which moves fighters, funds, and communications to and from South Asia. Any successful strategy for turning the Afghan war around will have to deal with the Iranian government’s nefarious role. The Russians are [also] on the opposite side of the Afghan war.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Iran, Taliban, U.S. Foreign policy