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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What to Do About Saudi Arabia

What to Do About Saudi Arabia

Joseph Braude Author, broadcaster, and Middle East specialist
American policymakers share a concern that the Saudi government, Saudi charities, and wealthy Saudi individuals continue to promote extremism around the world. Their assessment, however, tends to rely on findings and assumptions that are imprecise and out of date. Meanwhile, local actors within the kingdom are struggling to fight the extremist strain in their own society. The implications for American policy are profound. 
On May 21, the New York Times published an investigative report from Kosovo about the radicalization of local youth by Islamists from the Gulf. It finds that over the past 17 years, mosques, Muslim charities, and imams, funded or trained by “Saudis and others,” used a combination of inculcation, intimidation, and violence to undermine tolerant local Islamic traditions and foment a new jihadist sensibility among the population. It notes that Kosovo has become Europe’s largest per capita exporter of foreign fighters to the Islamic State — and that over the past two years, in a Kosovar security crackdown, 14 clerics were arrested and 19 Muslim organizations shut down. Five Gulf countries and Egypt are fingered as the instigators, but the focus of the piece is Saudi Arabia.

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