The Growing Saudi Conundrum
By Douglas Farah
Well, six years after 9/11, the Saudis continue to be a major obstacle in the fighting radical Islam, while remaining a necessary partner because of the oil reserves.
Two recent stories shed a clear light on the huge damage the Saudi royal family and business elite continue to do in hindering meaningful progress is shutting down the hate speech, bigotry and twisted theology that drive the _jihadist_ movement, financed by these actors.
The first was in the Wall Street Journal by Glenn Simpson, outlining the role of the al Rajhi family and banking institutions in funding radical Islamists, and what the U.S. knew about the activities.
In every case when U.S. officials could and should have been raising the issue publicly to force action, the administration opted for "quiet diplomacy," resulting in nothing.
While there is only circumstantial evidence the Al Rajhi network directly aided terrorists, it is clear that Islamic banks, while mostly doing legitimate business, are the institutions extremists rely on. Why? In part because they are _sharia_ compliant, and in part because the Islamic banks are largely exempt from Western (pagan) banking regulations, and have virtually no transparency requirements.
The article drops another interesting tidbit in the middle: That Saudi Arabia has never set up the commission, promised several years ago, to oversee Saudi charities, the lifeblood of many Islamist groups.
And, my sources tell me, they never set up the Financial Intelligence Unit either, and there has been virtually no cooperation on the financial side at all. My full blog is here.
July 27, 2007 11:01 AM Link