Sunday, June 4, 2017

John Wright: London Terror Attacks: Why We Need to Talk About Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia

It is time for an honest conversation about Wahhabism, specifically the part this Saudi-sponsored ideology plays in radicalizing young Muslims both across the Arab and Muslim world and in the West, where in the UK people have just woken up to another terrorist attack in which innocent civilians were butchered and injured, this time in London.

The US, British and French governments can no longer credibly claim to be serious about fighting terrorism or religious extremism while cozying up to what is a medieval kleptocracy in Riyadh.

Just days prior to this terrorist attack in London it was reported that a UK government inquiry into the role of Saudi money in funding terrorism is likely to be shelved, due to the sensitive nature of its findings. The report was originally commissioned at the behest of the Liberal Democrats, while in coalition government with the Tories back in 2015. It was sanctioned by then Prime Minister David Cameron in return for Lib Dem parliamentary support for British airstrikes in Syria. Given that the British government just signed £3.5 billion (US$4.51 billion) worth of arms export licenses to Saudi Arabia, the suppression of the report's findings is nothing short of a scandal.

In 2015 Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel came out in public and accused the Saudis of funding mosques in which extremism is regularly promoted. In an interview with the German magazine Bild am Sonntag, Mr. Gabriel said:

"We have to make clear to the Saudis that the time of looking away is over. Wahhabi mosques all over the world are financed by Saudi Arabia. Many Islamists who are a threat to public safety come from these communities in Germany."

Religious sectarianism and rigid adherence to an anti-human 7th-century doctrine underpins what passes for justice in the kingdom itself. We are talking a country in which people are regularly and ritually beheaded, flogged, and even crucified for daring to deviate from the law. In 2016 alone, the state carried out 154 executions, many of those for non-violent crimes. Yet, regardless, for those who claim the mantle of democracy and human rights, slavishly defending the kingdom and its vile and barbaric practices has long been a received truth.

Let us be clear: Britain's longstanding alliance with Saudi Arabia benefits nobody apart from UK arms companies and their shareholders. It is undeniably an alliance inimical to the country's security, bringing its entire political establishment into disrepute as a consequence.


Bob said...

There are two things you can do with young men - keep them busy, or kill them.

Bob said...

Is the war in Afghanistan "unwinnable"?

Interview with Paul Rogers, professor of peace studies at Bradford University, and International Security Advisor for openDemocracy. His most recent book is "Irregular War: ISIS and the New Threat From the Margins."

Bob said...

The New Germans
Exploring Germany's reception of new immigrants and its long-term pursuit of Arab migrants as a demographic strategy.