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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

 

Hamas Sets Its Sights on Taking over the PLO

Oct. 20 2017

Examining the recent reconciliation agreement between the rival Palestinian organizations Fatah and Hamas, Eyal Zisser argues that the latter sees the deal as a way to install its former leader, Khaled Meshal, as head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and thereby the Palestinian Authority. It wouldn’t be the first time something like this happened:

Even the former Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat . . . took the PLO leadership by force. His first steps, incidentally, were with the Fatah organization, which he cofounded in January 1965 in Damascus, under Syrian patronage. Fatah was meant to serve as a counterweight to the rival PLO, which had come into existence [earlier] under Egyptian patronage. Arafat, however, was relegated to the sidelines in the Palestinian arena. It was only after the 1967 Six-Day War that he exploited the resounding defeat of the Arab armies to join the PLO as the leader of Fatah, which led to his gaining control over [the PLO itself].

Meshal [most likely] wants to follow in Arafat’s footsteps—a necessary maneuver for a man who aspires to lead the Palestinian national movement, particularly after realizing that military might and even a hostile takeover of [either Gaza or the West Bank] will not grant him the legitimacy he craves.

It is hard to believe that Fatah will willingly hand over the keys to leadership, and it is also safe to assume that Egypt does not want to see Hamas grow stronger. But quasi-democratic developments such as these have their own dynamics. In 2006, Israel was persuaded by Washington to allow Hamas to run in the general Palestinian elections, thinking the Islamist group had no chance of winning. But Hamas won those elections. We can assume Meshal will now look to repeat that political ploy by joining the PLO and vying for its leadership.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Fatah, Hamas, Khaled Meshal, Palestinian Authority, PLO, Politics & Current Affairs, Yasir Arafat