Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: US Congressional Watchdog: Saudi Arabia: Remain Top Funders Of Al Qaida

by David Bedein

JERUSALEM - The United States has determined that Saudi Arabia continues to be the leading source of funding to Al Qaida.

A report by Congress has concluded that Saudi Arabia has been sending funds to both Al Qaida and Taliban in what has helped finance the war against NATO in Afghanistan.

The report by the Government Accountability Office said the Saudi government did not appear to be involved in the funding.

"It is vital that the U.S. demand more from the Saudi government in

cutting off the money flow to the Islamist extremist network," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said.

GAO has determined that Riyad has failed to stop the flow of funds from individuals and charities to Al Qaida and Taliban. The report said the Saudi funding continued amid the kingdom's crackdown on Al Qaida and counter-insurgency to neighboring Yemen.

"They are a top source of funding for Al Qaida and associated terror groups, such as the Taliban," GAO said on Sept. 29.

The GAO said Saudis and other Gulf Arabs were the chief source of funding to Taliban. The report said couriers were transporting cash from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council states to Afghanistan and Pakistan for Taliban.

The report also warned of Saudi Arabia's policy to rehabilitate Al Qaida insurgents. GAO reported a 20 percent recidivism rate of the 4,300 Al Qaida operatives who went through the re-education program.

"Saudi officials acknowledge such cases illustrate the difficulties

associated with assessing which participants should be released," GAO said.

The congressional watchdog recommended that the White House draft performance targets for Saudi Arabia in the war against Al Qaida. Over the last five years, several prominent of Congress have sought to link U.S. arms sales to Riyad to its commitment to block funding to Al Qaida.

This report was issued at exactly the same time that the current US Administration places all of its prestige behind the resumption of middle east peace talks, while ignoring the crucial role played by Saudi Arabia, which acts as the titular leader of the Arab League, remaining at war with Israel and positioning itself asthe major funder of Arab terrorist organizations.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

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