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Rhythm of Thought

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When the United States declared war on terrorists and their state sponsors, Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq were mentioned but Saudi Arabia, a country known for sponsoring Wahhabism, a strict form of Islam was left out.
Oil rich Saudi Arabia, a Sunni dominated country uses Wahhabism to counter Shia revivalism. Radical teachers of Wahhabism are sponsored to take their preaching to different parts of the world some of them radicalising young Muslims in the process.
Wahhabism is an offshoot of Salafism (pure Islam). Salafism is by no means synonymous with militant violence, yet one is not constrained to argue that the extremism it represents in the interpretation of the Koran has influenced Islamic terrorist groups in their outburst. To also think that Al Qaeda, a Sunni group founded by a Saudi dissident raised in the Wahhabi tradition has set the benchmark for Islamic extremism draws closer attention to the Islamic narrative that Saudi Arabia professes in its opposition of to shia influence.

A sect like Pakistan’s Jamaat –e-Islamic draws its Islamic aspiration from Saudi Wahhabism. The sect stands against freedom of religion in the Arab world, professing strong hatred of secularism.
Lawrence Freedman in his book “A Choice of Enemies – America Confronts the Middle East” finds Saudi Arabia culpable in the dangerous dogma that Al Qaeda represents by tracing Saudi sponsored wahhabist tendencies in the Madrassa of Pakistan where the Taliban developed their extreme disposition. The Taliban in turn prepared the climate for Al Qaeda to blossom.
I feel that, Saudi's propagation of extreme Islamism goes a long way in explaining the instinct that propelled the nineteen hijackers of Saudi descent to crash U.S airliners into important targets on 9/11.
Freedman expatiating on this point made reference to Craig Unger who argues that George W. Bush was prepared to let the Saudis off the hook because of his family’s close personal and financial links with Saudi Arabia. Freedman pushing the argument further gives the example of 142 Saudis, including twenty four members of the Bin Laden family who were allowed to leave Saudi Arabia in a private jet on September 14 after 9/11 without FBI screening, to ascertain if suspected terrorists were among them. Though the 9/11 commission refutes this claim, yet its recommendation on Saudi – US relations is apt:

The problem in the US-Saudi relationship must be confronted openly. The United States and Saudi Arabia must determine if they can build a relationship that political leaders on both sides are prepared to publicly defend – a relationship about more than oil. It should include a shared interest in greater tolerance and cultural respect, translating into a commitment to fight the violent extremists who foment hatred.
The commission’s recommendation touched on the salient points of US economic interest in Saudi Arabia, it reveals the inconsistency of US foreign policy in dealing with nations of the Middle East. It also calls for commitment by Saudi Arabia to fight extremism. The contradiction established in the recommendation of the 9/11 commission is in tandem with the view of Henry Kissinger a former US Secretary of State. In his book “World Order” Kissinger blames the Saudi government for a strategic error that made it fail to understand the dynamism in global politics that it cannot continue to support and manipulate radical Islamism abroad without becoming a victim.
That Saudi Arabia survived the intense Al Qaeda 2003 campaign against it, is not a guarantee that it will not be a victim of a changing world order in the future. ISIS plans to deal with Saudi Arabia.

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