Saudis must face consequences for promoting extremism

Last December, Farah Pandith of the Council on Foreign Relations, who was the first State Department special representative to Muslim communities, called for Saudi Arabia to face consequences if it did not stop promoting extremism. She wrote in the New York Times

“I traveled to 80 countries between 2009 and 2014 as the first ever U.S. special representative to Muslim communities. In each place I visited, the Wahhabi influence was an insidious presence, changing the local sense of identity; displacing historic, culturally vibrant forms of Islamic practice; and pulling along individuals who were either paid to follow their rules or who became on their own custodians of the Wahhabi world view. Funding all this was Saudi money, which paid for things like the textbooks, mosques, TV stations and the training of Imams…We should expose the Saudi financing of extremist groups masquerading as cultural exchanges and ‘charity’ organizations and prevent the Saudis from demolishing local Muslim religious and cultural sites that are evidence of the diversity of Islam. If the Saudis do not cease what they are doing, there must be diplomatic, cultural and economic consequences.” [1]

Eight months later, the New York Times reported:

“Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump don’t agree on much, but Saudi Arabia may be an exception. She has deplored Saudi Arabia’s support for ‘radical schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path towards extremism.’ He has called the Saudis ‘the world’s biggest funders of terrorism.'” [2]  

But neither Clinton nor Trump has yet addressed the conclusion of what Farah Pandith wrote eight months ago: there must be consequences for the Saudis if they do not cease what they are doing.

Instead of sanctioning the Saudis, the U.S. government now plans to reward them. On August 8, the administration notified Congress of intent to sell $1.15 billion of weapons to Saudi Arabia. But Senator Murphy and Senator Paul are expected to introduce a bipartisan resolution to disapprove the administration’s Saudi arms deal. [3]

Urge Congress to support the Paul-Murphy resolution to disapprove the Saudi arms deal by signing our petition at change.org.

Thanks for all you do to help make America more just,

Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

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