BERLIN (Own report) – Following the recent terror attacks, international pressure has been mounting on a major supporter of global jihadism – Saudi Arabia, a close German ally. In London, leading politicians from the opposition are calling on the British government to finally publish an investigation of the – presumably Saudi – financiers of British jihadis. Protest against the western powers’ pact with the Saudi ruling clan is being raised also beyond Europe’s borders. The youth league of the world’s largest Islamic organization, the Indonesian Nahdlatul Ulama, for example, has published a declaration accusing the West of ignoring the direct correlation between the Saudi Salafist crusade “and the spread of terrorism worldwide.” For decades, Saudi Arabia has been promoting Salafi jihadi milieux throughout the world – partly in alliance with Germany, partly with Berlin’s de facto approval – significantly strengthening them in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Sahel, North Africa, the Middle East and the European countries with Muslim populations, such as Kosovo, as well as in Southeast Asia – in Indonesia and in the Philippines. While milieux supported by Saudi Arabia have increased their terror also in Western Europe, Berlin is continuing its cooperation with Riyadh.
Jihad at the Hindu Kush
“Since the 1970s, Saudi Arabia has been a major financial source for rebel and terrorist organizations” according to an analysis commissioned and published by the European Parliament in 2013. The analysis describes the emergence of current jihadism in Afghanistan since 1979, supported by Riyadh and Washington to drive Soviet Armed Forces out of Afghanistan and overthrow the Kabul government. Saudi organizations were helping with finances and arms, assisted in setting up Mujahidin training camps and established religious schools at the Hindu Kush, through which the Wahhabi Salafist version of Islam was propagated both in Afghanistan, and in the bordering regions of Pakistan. The future Taliban leader Mullah Omar, for example, had been educated in Saudi religious schools, as was Jalaluddin Haqqani, initiator of the Haqqani network, which was largely supported by Saudi Arabia in the 1980s and has since become one of the major terrorist organizations at the Hindu Kush. Osama bin Laden, who later established al Qaeda in Afghanistan, has been the most famous beneficiary of the Saudi-US assistance to jihadism. The Federal Republic of Germany had also been a participant in the anti-Soviet cooperation project of the 1980s. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.)
Jihad in Syria and Mali
Radicalization in Europe
The Salafi crusade waged by Germany’s close ally, Saudi Arabia, is having extensive consequences, even beyond the heartlands of the Arab world, beyond Central Asia and the Sahel. Kosovo, the illegally seceded Serbian province, with a population of 95% Muslims, is one example. In Kosovo, according to a report appearing in the US press last year, Saudi-orientated clerics began spreading Salafist Islamic teachings soon after the NATO invasion in 1999. They had “a lot of money” and a lot of Salafi literature, and built a lot of mosques. 240, of the over 800 mosques, have been built since the war, with long-standing moderate imams being replaced by Salafis, oriented on the Saudi model of Islam. As usual, also in Kosovo, the Salafist crusade has reinforced jihadism. From 2014 to the spring of 2016, alone, 314 Kosovars have been identified, who have gone abroad to join the Islamic State, the highest number per capita in Europe. Officials ascribe this radicalization clearly to Saudi influence.
Radicalization in Indonesia
Terrorism in the Philippines
Of course, western governments are aware of the global consequences of the Saudi’s Salafi crusade. “Between 2009 and 2014,” Farah Pandith, former US Special Representative to Muslim Communities, officially “traveled to 80 countries.” “In each place I visited,” Saudi Arabia’s religious influence had “an insidious presence,” displacing historic, culturally vibrant forms of Islamic practice; changing the local sense of identity and considerably strengthening Wahhabi-Salafi Islam, she reported in late 2015. Funding all this was Saudi money, which paid for things like the textbooks, mosques, TV stations and the training of Imams.
In the meantime, international resentment is mounting over the pact that the West – Germany included – has maintained with Saudi Arabia, which has always furnished Riyadh the necessary political cover for waging its Salafist crusade. In Great Britain, since the recent terrorist attacks, leading politicians of the opposition have begun insisting that an investigation into the – presumably Saudi – financiers of British jihadis be finally made public. In Indonesia, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, the youth league of the world’s largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama – exemplary for the voices of moderate Muslims in various countries throughout the world – issued a declaration stating, “for more than fifty years, Saudi Arabia has systematically propagated a supremacist, ultraconservative interpretation of Islam.” There is a “direct correlation” between the Saudi Salafi crusade “and the spread of terrorism worldwide.” US government policy ignores this and maintains its close alliance with Riyadh. The same can be said for Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel recently visited Saudi Arabia and expanded the economic, as well as the military, cooperation with that country, without consideration of that country’s promotion of terrorism.