In a speech during a session of parliament, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel highlighted the menacing “elephant in the room” amidst the rise and rapid spread of the violent extremism of the Islamic State: Saudi Arabia.
“From Saudi Arabia,” Gabriel noted, “Wahhabi mosques are financed throughout the world.” Wahhabism is an extreme and fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, one that fuels violence and the oppression of political and religious opposition.
Gabriel conceded that Saudi Arabia should not be alienated, as they remain a major regional force, but added that “the time to look away is past.”
“Look away” has indeed been the strategy of Germany and much of the West: Both financial and military aid continues to flow to the oil monarchy despite it’s horrific human rights record, which includes the execution of children and the mentally disabled, the lashing of bloggers, the stoning to death of adulterers, and the continued assault on Yemen, carried out with the support of the United States.
Many, including Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, have argued that at the core of the Islamic State’s ideology rests “a kind of untamed Wahhabism.”
Kamel Daoud, writing in the New York Times, calls Saudi Arabia “an ISIS that has made it.”
“Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other.”
Saudi Arabia strictly opposes the values that the West claims to hold most dear: namely, freedom of expression and freedom of religion. It is long past time that our political leaders confront the source of the problem, rather than treating only the symptoms. A major source is Saudi Arabia and the dangerous doctrine the nation’s Kingdom espouses and represents.
William Blum puts it best, in question form: “What does Saudi Arabia have to do to lose its strong American support? Increase its torture, beheadings, amputations, whippings, stonings, punishment for blasphemy and apostasy, or forced marriages and other oppression of women and girls? Increase its financial support for ISIS and other jihadist groups? Confess to its role in 9-11? Attack Israel?”
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