Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have attacked their neighbor, Qatar, for supposedly supporting terrorism. They pretend to be firefighters, but spent years as arsonists.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been consolidating power while posing as a reformer. The only positive so far of his de facto reign is his recent decision to liberalize Saudi social life. Women now can breathe and even drive.
However, he has not relaxed political or religious controls. Most important, while limiting the influence of fundamentalist clerics at home, he has not yet dropped the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s longstanding support for radical Islamism abroad.
The KSA spends as much as $4 billion annually promoting its uniquely intolerant brand of Salafist Islamic thought, aimed at the “purification” of the faith known as Wahhabism. By enforcing this rigidly intolerant theology the KSA has acted like a housebroken version of the Islamic State.
Indeed, the two powers used the same school textbooks. Reported the New York Times, ISIS “circulates images of Wahhabi religious textbooks from Saudi Arabia in the schools it controls. Videos from the group’s territory have shown Wahhabi texts plastered on the sides of an official missionary van.”
Even some Saudi commentators noted that upwards of 4,000 Saudi youth may have joined ISIS in Syria, second only to the number of Tunisians. Turkish cleric Mehmet Gormez asked a group of Saudi clerics about 45 Saudis executed for terrorist offences: “These people studied Islam for 10 or 15 years in your country. Is there a problem with the educational system”?
The Saudis have continued despite increased violent radicalism. Complained former Sen. Bob Graham, who served on the 9/11 commission: “They have continued, maybe accelerated their support for the most extreme form of Islam.”
Wahhabism originated in the 18th Century. Political and religious officials formed a brutal partnership. As the International Center for…