A lesson in counter-extremism – Do we really need to hear from al-Saud?

There must be something in the air which is prompting Saudi Arabia Royals from taking pen to paper those days, because never before have we witnessed such a deluge of editorial and opinion pieces, courtesy of the kingdom’s highest and mightiest.

Following on the heels of Saudi Arabia Ambassador to the United Kingdom, it is Abdullah al-Saud, the kingdom’s Ambassador to the United States who is now offering the world a grand lesson in counter-extremism.

I must say that the irony of it all is not without poetry … if only it wasn’t rooted on bloodshed and boundless political hypocrisy!

Standing tall on its riches and promises of everlasting oil security, Saudi Arabia is now volunteering to save the world from the abject ignominy of extremism – this cancer of our modern times we have all wrestled against, without ever successfully destroying it. Aren’t you glad the kingdom is here to save us the trouble? Aren’t you grateful of Riyadh’s magnanimity and responsible ruling?

As one Saudi Prince so eloquently reminded US President Barack Obama this March: “We are not free riders on US foreign policy.” Clearly Riyadh has indeed its own ideas as to how the world should be arranged, or rather re-arranged under its totalitarian guise.

Full of his own despotic self-importance the Ambassador graciously willed his wisdom into the pages of the Huffington Post – another jewel surely to the Crown’s press empire. How beautifully corruptive the power of money, and promises of fortunes to come … How predictable the fall of corporate media!

“Extremism, especially violent extremism, is a scourge on the planet. Those who promote extremist ideologies or sponsor acts of violence in the name of Islam cannot be condoned or supported by anyone of true faith. In Saudi Arabia, extremists have attempted to hijack our religion, have murdered many of our people and used terrorism to intimidate our nation. There are two things that Saudi Arabia and its people hold most dear, and will never allow to be threatened – our faith and our security” writes al-Saud.

To the risk of departing from a certain journalistic decorum, I would like to point the readers to the sheer insanity of such a statement. Are you kidding me?! Are we in all seriousness supposed to sit here and take the Ambassador’ s pathetic attempt at rationalizing terror and not recognize that Terrorism was in fact engineered somewhere in Nejd desert – al-Saud homeland?

“Our faith?” … which one? That which Wahhabis have attempted to pass for Islam, or that which they truly follow: Takfirism? This belief which asserts that only Wahhabis hold monopoly over God’s Truth, the very ideology Terror’s armies have leaned on, and draw from to rationalize, and spur on their mad crusades against all, and every religious communities.

If not for Wahhabism intolerance, if not for its clergy’s taste for bloodletting the world would have been spared a million tortures. If not for Wahhabism, a devolution which ambitions itself Islamic to better claim religious legitimacy, the world would not have learned Islamophobia.

So please spare us the brutality of another poorly formulated propaganda. The world public is not so deluded as to believe that Saudi Arabia, the grand Wahhabist kingdom actually cares for anyone but its own coffers, and its own rising empire.

Let me quote you US President Barack Obama: “The Saudis and other Gulf Arabs have funnelled money, and large numbers of imams and teachers, into the country. In the 1990s, the Saudis heavily funded Wahhabist madrassas, seminaries that teach the fundamentalist version of Islam favoured by the Saudi ruling family.” Those words were uttered by America’s leadership … the same America which has shielded the kingdom from criticism over its links with Terror on account of its natural resources and ability to sign lucrative dotted contract lines.

When Saudi Arabia’s staunchest, and most fervent cheerleader cannot help but formulate a scathing critic, we ought to pay attention!

So … no I’m sorry but Saudi Arabia does not exactly qualify by way of counter-extremism expertise. Brownies points for trying though!

Undeterred by the inherent irrational of his argument, Ambassador al-Saud carried on with a majestic: “Every part of Saudi society has united to confront extremism. Our religious scholars, including the Mufti and members of the Board of Senior Scholars, have loudly and repeatedly condemned extremism and terrorism and have worked to guide those who could be deluded by extremist ideologies away from that misguided path. Mosques are being protected from becoming platforms for inciting extremism or collecting money that could be diverted into the wrong hands. Our educational systems and curriculum continue to go through major reforms, including teacher training to ensure that our children receive the best religious education. Teachers who fail to meet strict guidelines are removed. The government has also invested in massive public education programs to educate people on the dangers of extremism. These programs have included, but are not limited to, advertising, social media, events, and television programs.”

Oh really?! Indulge me please …

A report published in the World Affairs read in May/June 2015: “The full extent of resources that flowed from Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf partners to the so called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and to the Syria-based al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front, is difficult to determine. But Biden estimated the illicit resource transfer to Takfiris from Saudi Arabia at “hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons.” In addition to ideology and training, for instance, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is reported to have provided $20,000 in cash directly to the Paris terrorists.”

In November 2015 Politico published an opinion piece which read: “Since 2001 our policy for fighting terrorists has been, to put it politely, missing the elephant in the room, sort of like treating symptoms and completely missing the disease. Policymakers and slow-thinking bureaucrats stupidly let terrorism grow by ignoring the roots. So we lost a generation: Someone who went to grammar school in Saudi Arabia (our “ally”) after September 11 is now an adult, indoctrinated into believing and supporting Salafi violence, hence encouraged to finance it — while we got distracted by the use of complicated weapons and machinery. Even worse, the Wahhabis have accelerated their brainwashing of East and West Asians with their madrassas, thanks to high oil revenues.”

Wahhabism stands the very definition of extremism and radicalism all wrapped up in one hateful intolerance. Wahhabism teaches the hatred of all faiths, and of all people in the name of a warped sense of religious purity. Wahhabism’s very belief system is built around bloodshed and holy wars.

So again please give us the courtesy of the truth. In the hands of the kingdom Wahhabism has been a useful weapon of mass-indoctrination, a perfect cornerstone for a very “bloody-thirsty” dynasty.

This article was written by Catherine Shakdam for American Herald Tribune on Mar. 15, 2016. Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen.