In response to President Trump sucking up to Saudi Arabia’s repressive, fundamentalist regime, one lone U.S. Congressperson, Hawaii’s Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, again demonstrated integrity and independence by speaking out against a proposed arms deal with America’s most dubious ally.
In a press release on May 20, 2017, Gabbard pointed out that Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a devastating record of human rights violations at home and abroad, and a long history of providing support to terrorist organizations. And that Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest sponsor and propagator of the extremist Wahhabi Salafist ideology that fuels terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. Based on Saudi Arabia’s history and track record, she suggests there is a significant likelihood these weapons will be used against innocent civilians or end up in the hands of terrorist groups.
“Saudi Arabia has spent hundreds of billions of dollars spreading their extreme Wahhabi Salafist ideology around the world, creating fertile ground for terrorist organizations like ISIS and al-Qaeda to recruit, while simultaneously providing direct support to terrorist groups who pose a direct threat to US interests and who are fighting to overthrow the Syrian government,” said Gabbard.
“The hypocrisy in the Trump administration’s actions toward Saudi Arabia began in February 2017 with the newly-appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo presenting Saudi Crown Prince bin Nayef with the George Tenet Award in recognition of Prince bin Nayef’s ‘excellent intelligence performance, in the domain of counter-terrorism and his unbound contribution to realise world security and peace.’
“This hypocrisy continues now as the Trump administration talks tough against ISIS and terrorism, while selling weapons to, supporting, and praising a country that beheads dissidents, oppresses women, persecutes religious minorities, atheists, and LGBT people, and is the greatest supporter of terror groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS in the world today.”
In 2009, Wikileaks published diplomatic cables from the US State Department which plainly stated the Middle Eastern nation’s role in funding terrorism.
“Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide,” the documents said. “It has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority.
“More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other terrorist groups, which probably raise millions of dollars annually from Saudi sources.”
Two days ago the UK Independent newspaper reported that the leaders of the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats have urged Prime Minister Theresa May to allow the publication of a “sensitive” government report into terror funding in the UK which allegedly focuses on the role of Saudi Arabia. Speaking in Carlisle on Sunday evening, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the UK needs to “have some difficult conversations, starting with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have funded and fueled extremist ideology.”
A United States Senate Intelligence Committee report on Saudi Arabian connections to the 9/11 hijackers was suppressed by the U.S. Government for 13 years before finally being made public, and readable from this CNN.com website, in 2015.
It should be noted that that the country at the top of a list of foreign-born individuals who committed or were convicted of attempting to commit a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, is Saudi Arabia with 19 citizens. The 9/11 attacks were carried out by men from Saudi Arabia (15), the United Arab Emirates (2), Egypt (1), and Lebanon (1). None of these countries are included in Trump’s proposed travel ban list.
(President Trump photo in Saudi Arabia with “Saruman” photoshopped by Shahak Shapira)