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Terrorist Sponsors: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China

Terrorist Sponsors: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China
by Ted Galen Carpenter

The United States has assembled a superficially impressive international
coalition against the threat of terrorism. Many countries in that coalition,
however, contribute little of significance to the fight. Even worse, the willingness
of some members of the coalition to actually combat terrorism is doubtful.
Indeed, given their record, some of those countries appear to be part of the
problem, not part of the solution. That concern is especially acute with respect to
Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and China.

Saudi Arabia enlisted in the fight against terrorism only in response to intense
pressure from the United States following the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon. Even then, its cooperation has been minimal and
grudging. For example, Riyadh has resisted Washington's requests to use its
bases in Saudi Arabia for military operations against Osama bin Laden's terrorist
facilities in Afghanistan.

Even that belated, tepid participation is an improvement on Saudi Arabia's
previous conduct. The U.S. government has warned that it will treat regimes that
harbor or assist terrorist organizations the same way that it treats the
organizations themselves. Yet if Washington is serious about that policy, it ought
to regard Saudi Arabia as a prime sponsor of international terrorism. Indeed, that
country should have been included for years on the U.S. State Department's
annual list of governments guilty of sponsoring terrorism.

The Saudi government has been the principal financial backer of Afghanistan' s
odious Taliban movement since at least 1996. It has also channeled funds to
Hamas and other groups that have committed terrorist acts in Israel and other
portions of the Middle East.

Worst of all, the Saudi monarchy has funded dubious schools and "charities"
throughout the Islamic world. Those organizations have been hotbeds of anti-
Western, and especially, anti-American, indoctrination. The schools, for example,
not only indoctrinate students in a virulent and extreme form of Islam, but also
teach them to hate secular Western values.

They are also taught that the United States is the center of infidel power in the
world and is the enemy of Islam. Graduates of those schools are frequently
recruits for Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda terror network as well as other extremist

Pakistan's guilt is nearly as great as Saudi Arabia's. Without the active support of
the government in Islamabad, it is doubtful whether the Taliban could ever have
come to power in Afghanistan. Pakistani authorities helped fund the militia and
equip it with military hardware during the mid-1990s when the Taliban was
merely one of several competing factions in Afghanistan's civil war. Only when
the United States exerted enormous diplomatic pressure after the Sept. 11 attacks
did Islamabad begin to sever its political and financial ties with the Taliban. Even
now it is not certain that key members of Pakistan's intelligence service have
repudiated their Taliban clients.

Afghanistan is not the only place where Pakistani leaders have flirted with
terrorist clients. Pakistan has also assisted rebel forces in Kashmir even though
those groups have committed terrorist acts against civilians. And it should be
noted that a disproportionate number of the extremist madrasas schools funded
by the Saudis operate in Pakistan.

China's offenses have been milder and more indirect than those of Saudi Arabia
and Pakistan. Nevertheless, Beijing's actions raise serious questions about
whether its professed commitment to the campaign against international
terrorism is genuine. For years, China has exported sensitive military technology
to countries that have been sponsors of terrorism. Recipients of such sales
include Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Even though Chinese leaders now say that they support the U.S.-led effort against
terrorism, there is no evidence that Beijing is prepared to end its inappropriate
exports. At the recent APEC summit, China's President Jiang Zemin was notably
noncommittal when President Bush sought such a commitment. Whenever the
United States has brought up the exports issue, Chinese officials have sought to
link a cutoff to a similar cutoff of U.S. military sales to Taiwan -- something that
is unacceptable to Washington.

It is time for China, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia to prove by their deeds, not just
their words, that they are serious about contributing to the campaign against
international terrorism. In China's case, that means ending all militarily relevant
exports to regimes that have sponsored terrorism. In the cases of Pakistan and
Saudi Arabia, it means defunding terrorist organizations and the extremist
"schools" that provide them with recruits. It also means severing ties with such
terrorist movements as the Taliban and the Kashmiri insurgents. The world is
watching the actions of all three countries.

Global Terror's Central Front: Pakistan and Afghanistan

Afghanistan and Pakistan are inextricably linked by a spreading Islamic insurgency.
Ambushes, daring militant offensives, and targeted assassinations have risen sharply in
Afghanistan, while suicide attacks and "Talibanization" are sweeping through Pakistan's
settled areas at an alarming rate. Can the U.S. win a decisive victory in the Afghanistan-
Pakistan theater? Is there a viable exit strategy? Please join Cato scholars Malou
Innocent, who recently spent several weeks in Pakistan assessing the region's
deteriorating condition, and Ted Galen Carpenter to discuss Afghanistan's meltdown,
Pakistan's worsening situation, and the future of U.S. policy in this turbulent and critical