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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

Mahmoud Abbas Comes to the UN to Walk away from the Negotiating Table

Feb. 22 2018

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, addressed the United Nations Security Council during one of its regular discussions of the “Palestine question.” He used the opportunity to elaborate on the Palestinians’ “5,000-year history” in the land of Israel, after which he moved on to demand—among other things—that the U.S. reverse its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The editors of the Weekly Standard comment:

It’s convenient for Abbas to suggest a condition to which he knows the United States won’t accede. It allows him to do what he does best—walk away from the table. Which is what he did on Tuesday, literally. After his speech, Abbas and his coterie of bureaucrats walked out of the council chamber, snubbing the next two speakers, the Israeli ambassador Danny Danon and the U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley, . . . [in order to have his] photograph taken with the Belgian foreign minister.

Abbas has neither the power nor the will to make peace. It’s the perennial problem afflicting Palestinian leadership. If he compromises on the alleged “right of return”—the chimerical idea that Palestinians can re-occupy the lands from which they [or their ancestors] fled, in effect obliterating the Israeli state—he will be deposed by political adversaries. Thus his contradictory strategy: to prolong his pageantry in international forums such as the UN, and to fashion himself a “moderate” even as he finances and incites terror. He seems to believe time is on his side. But it’s not. He’s eighty-two. While he continues his performative intransigence, he further immiserates the people he claims to represent.

In a sense, it was entirely appropriate that Abbas walked out. In that sullen act, he [exemplified] his own approach to peacemaking: when difficulties arise, vacate the premises and seek out photographers.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Mahmoud Abbas, Nikki Haley, Politics & Current Affairs, United Nations