Saudi Arabia's role in War on Terror
Assessing situation 11 years after 9/11
- Duration 6:18
- Date Sep 11, 2012
Assessing situation 11 years after 9/11
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-- today we'd be remiss in not calling attention.
To who caused this who murdered our fellow Americans most of the 9/11 hijackers terrorist.
Murderers -- -- want to call -- fifteen out of the nineteen were all from Saudi Arabia.
How many of you we reflect -- 9/11 think.
About Saudi Arabia that's I want to talk about it now eleven years later.
What about the saudis in the war on terror joining us now -- she answered at the foundation for defense of democracies -- studied this.
Very deeply and Jonathan why you know why where they saudis.
And why is that significant.
Well -- I I you know I think you know you take a step back and take a look at the Saudi system that's been developed over the years.
It is -- -- phobic one it is based in Wahabi Islam which is a radical offshoot.
Sect of Islam.
And so for many years the saudis were teaching hatred or teaching it in their schools in the -- us they were.
Preaching it and their Friday sermons they were putting it in textbooks and it was to teach.
Muslims worldwide that westerners were the enemies that Christians and Jews for the enemies and that Islam was to reign supreme.
And we ignore that for many many years and then finally woke up on 9/11 to find out that fifteen out of the nineteen hijackers were saudis.
That the mastermind of al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden was also a Saudi and so we begin to crack down on the saudis pressuring them to do something about the system.
That that that they created.
But the good news is is that the saudis and taken that seriously.
He really have done a lot to stem the flow of terror finance.
You can see much.
You could see fewer instances of of over radicalization calls to violence right now.
In Saudi literature but the concern is is that they had seen a phobia.
And that Islamic centric.
Ideology still exists.
Are -- the driver of that ideology or -- of one of the participants.
They I would have to say that they are probably still the drivers of it now of course we've got other off shoots we've got al-Qaeda itself which has morphed.
You've got the pakistanis you've got others who propagated a radical interpretation of Islam.
But certainly the saudis I think can still take responsibility for a great deal of the radicalization that we see today.
As I think you worked in the treasury in 20042 -- of 51 of the things that you were doing is taking a look at where the money for terror was coming from.
And where was the money first and in this terror financing coming from and where is it coming from today.
Well early on it was very clear that the saudis were huge part of the problem and and so I think there was a great deal of effort placed on on curbing that the that the financing of terror in the saudis.
I think after a good bit of cajoling finally did did a good job and they've -- it.
Now the question is if there were billions of dollars and then they they cut it by half he still have billions of dollars out there and I think -- the saudis are continue to be a problem.
But by largely seen is that terror financing has really gone underground you've got -- cash smuggling.
You've got trade -- -- money laundering so it's a lot harder to figure out exactly where the cash is coming from although we can still say that a lot of our Petro dollars.
They go to the golf whether it's -- -- Kuwait or Saudi Arabia.
That that really does seem to be where most of the financing and it.
Romney has is -- doesn't unite talked in the air numerous times about power being gauging Iran carrying gauging Pakistan what about -- -- leave we -- very.
It it you know in frequently talked about how we're engaging the -- how are we engaging the saudis when it comes to this issue -- others.
Well the saudis have been a very -- -- ally for us but it's been an uneasy alliance so on the one hand the saudis are -- working with us right now to produce additional oil.
While we try to impose sanctions on the Iranians.
They're making up a lot of the excess oil that the world is lacking and so they're helping us on that front.
But at the same time you know I think they are an ambivalent -- they continue if you take a look at what's.
Being propagated on the Internet by a lot of their preachers and in even state sanctioned clergy.
You know it is still it reflects a great deal of ambivalence about western society hatred for other religions.
And so that's the part you don't hear about what we hear about more and more is the oil and and that and the improve relations that we had with the saudis in recent years.
Let's talk a little bit more about that we heard from the president the Pentagon today he said again that -- fight is not with -- but we're talking about the specific type of ideology is on.
These terror attacks in is still inspiring plots if they haven't been carried through on our -- on it and so.
Combating -- ideology and what is it look like now you mentioned the Internet you mention some of these state sanctioned clerics.
In Saudi Arabia what are we really facing.
Well -- first -- I mean I think the ideology it's important to note that this is a minority offshoot of Islam let's say it represents 20% of the Islamic faith.
The problem is is that with the billions of Muslims out there you know you're still looking at perhaps you know population of the United States that still views.
The United States is a problem you know 300 plus million people that -- view America and the west as as an enemy.
And so this is the ideology that we continue to -- -- And I think that there's been a reticence in recent years to even call -- -- include the word Islam.
When talking about this ideology but I think it's incredibly important and not because Islam is the problem but rather because of moderate Islam is the solution.
And when you take a look at what's being propagated on line when you take a look at the messaging that's out there you still see a good deal of intolerance I think.
A lot of the messaging has been dialed back they're not overtly calling for violence any longer the way they did pre 9/11.
But you're still seeing a hatred you're still seeing -- eight and utter disdain for western values they come through there and I think that that continues to power.
This this ideology.
And perhaps again not driving us to violence but certainly seeing you know probably stopping just short of that -- -- the question that I have is at what point do they just turn that up just a little bit and the violence could begin again.
So a lot of work to be done.
I giant and thank you for the time today appreciate your perspective as always thank you.