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Terrorism brings with it a wide range of issues for the international community to consider. These issues are shaping government policies worldwide. The terrorist’s attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11 2001 and the subsequent terror attacks in different parts of the world have ignited wide concern. Saudi Arabia has suffered a series of terrorist’s attacks in recent decades of different types and magnitudes. Responding to the most recent attack of May 12, 2003, which was well organized and synchronized, the Saudi Government mobilized its resources to combat this threat for security of the country and to participate in cooperative efforts with the world community. Significant efforts have been made in this regard. These include economic, educational, and media efforts to halt and eradicate terrorism in all possible ways. Direct domestic security operations are primarily focused on the dismantling of existing terrorist cells. Assisting these efforts will lead to a desirable end state that is beneficial not only for the security of Saudi Arabia but for the security of the whole world. The purpose of this paper is to examine the efforts that have been put into effect to fight terrorism by Saudi Arabia, and to recommend actions to assist and improve these efforts.
The September 11, 2001 attacks fueled criticisms within the United States of alleged Saudi involvement in terrorism or of Saudi laxity in acting against terrorist groups. Of particular concern have been reports that funds may be flowing from Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries to terrorist groups, largely under the guise of charitable contributions. Critics of Saudi policies have cited a number of reports that the Saudi government has permitted or encouraged fund raising in Saudi Arabia by charitable Islamic groups and foundations linked to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda organization or like-minded entities. The final report released by the bipartisan National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission) indicates that the Commission “found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded [Al Qaeda].” The report also states, however, that Saudi Arabia “was a place where Al Qaeda raised money directly from individuals and through charities,” and indicates that “charities with significant Saudi government sponsorship” may have diverted funding to Al Qaeda. In numerous official statements and position papers, Saudi leaders have said they are committed to cooperating with the United States in fighting terrorist financing, pointing out that Saudi Arabia itself is a victim of terrorism and shares the U.S. interest in combating it. Saudi leaders acknowledge providing financial support for Islamic and Palestinian causes, but maintain that no Saudi support goes to any terrorist organizations, such as the Hamas organization. The U.S. State Department in its most recent annual report on international terrorism states that Hamas receives some funds from individuals in the Persian Gulf states but does not specifically
mention Saudi Arabia. Since the September 11 attacks, Saudi Arabia has issued numerous decrees and created new institutions designed to tighten controls over the flow of funds in or through the kingdom, with particular emphasis on increasing the effectiveness of governmental supervision over charitable donations and collections. A rash of terrorist attacks on residential and office compounds in Saudi Arabia in 2003-2004 appears to have given added impetus to the Saudi leadership in expanding counterterrorist efforts. Since mid-2003, the Saudi government has: set up a joint task force with the United States to investigate terrorist financing in Saudi Arabia; shuttered charitable organizations suspected of terrorist ties; passed anti-money laundering legislation; banned cash collections at mosques; centralized control over charitable collections; closed unlicensed money exchanges; and scrutinized clerics involved in charitable collections. H.R. 10, introduced on September 24, 2004, would require the President to submit to designated congressional committees a strategy for U.S. Saudi collaboration, with special reference to combating terrorist financing.
Saudi Arabia: Terrorist Financing Issues
The attacks of September 11, 2001 fueled criticism within the United States of alleged Saudi involvement in terrorism or of Saudi laxity in acting against terrorist groups. One area of particular concern is the suspicion that public or private funds may be flowing from Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries to finance international terrorist activity. Reliable figures on the amount of money originating in or passing through Saudi Arabia and ending up in terrorist hands generally are difficult to obtain, for several reasons. First, the relatively small amounts of money required for terrorist acts can easily pass unnoticed. Second, the structure of the Saudi financial system makes financial transfers difficult to trace. Personal income records are not kept for tax purposes in Saudi Arabia and many citizens prefer cash transactions. Third, Muslim charitable contributions (zakat) are a religious obligation, constituting one of the five “pillars of Islam.” Contributions are often given anonymously, and donated funds may be diverted from otherwise legitimate charities. Moreover, Saudi funding of international Islamic charities is reportedly derived from both public and private sources which in some cases appear to overlap, further complicating efforts to estimate the amounts involved and to identify the sources and end recipients of these donations. This paper reviews allegations of Saudi involvement in terrorist financing together with Saudi rebuttals, discusses the question of Saudi support for religious charities and schools (madrasas) abroad, discusses recent steps taken by Saudi Arabia to counter terrorist financing (many in conjunction with the United States), and suggests some implications of recent Saudi actions for the war on terrorism.
Saudi Arabia: Allegations of Terrorist Financing
In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, numerous allegations have been leveled against the Saudi Arabian government and prominent Saudi citizens regarding financial support for international terrorist groups. Although many of the allegations fault the Saudi government for failing to act decisively to close down channels of financial support, some critics go so far as to accuse Saudi government officials of responsibility for the September 11 attacks through design or negligence and for the continuing threat posed by the perpetrators or by like-minded terrorist groups. Some of the allegations also deal with possible ties between Saudi officials, private citizens and the exiled Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda organization. However, Saudi authorities revoked bin Laden’s citizenship in 1994, and senior Saudi officials have stated publicly that the Saudi regime is as much a target of Al Qaeda as is the United States. There also have been suggestions that members of the large and sometimes fractious Saud family, numbering 5,000 or more, have acted independently of the country’s senior leadership in providing support to Islamic fundamentalist groups prone to violence. Since September 11, some U.S. government officials have described Saudi Arabia as “a strong ally to the United States in [the fight against terrorist financing];” however, others have qualified this viewpoint, and at least one has described Saudi Arabia as “the epicenter” of financing for Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. The following are summaries of the more publicized post-September 11 reports of alleged Saudi involvement in terrorist financing.
The 9/11 Commission, The final report released by the bipartisan National
Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States indicates that the Commission “found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded [Al Qaeda].” The report also states, however, that Saudi Arabia “was a place where Al Qaeda raised money directly from individuals and through charities,” and indicates that “charities with significant Saudi government sponsorship,” such as the Al Haramain Islamic Foundation, may have diverted funding to Al Qaeda. Specifically, the report describes bin Laden’s use of “the Golden Chain,” an informal financial network of prominent Saudi and Gulf individuals originally established to support the anti-Soviet Afghan resistance movement in the 1980s. U.S. officials state that this network collected funds and funneled it to Arab fighters in Afghanistan, and later to Al Qaeda, using charities and other non-governmental organizations. According to the Commission’s report, Saudi individuals and other financiers associated with the Golden Chain enabled bin Laden and Al Qaeda to replace lost financial assets and establish a base in Afghanistan following their abrupt departure from Sudan in 1996. These activities were facilitated in part, the report argues, by the “extreme religious views” that exist within Saudi Arabia and the fact that “until recently” Saudi charities were “subject to very limited oversight.” Although the report highlights a series of unsuccessful U.S. government efforts to gain access to a senior Al Qaeda financial operative who had been detained by
the report credits the Saudi government with assisting U.” The second report also identifies several areas in which its authors argue Saudi 4 |Page .S. Egypt. and other Gulf states and regional financial centers as “source and transit countries. leading Al Qaeda to rely thereafter on a “a core group of financial facilitators” based in the Persian Gulf “and particularly in Saudi Arabia” for funding. Saudi officials have turned a blind eye to this problem. An independent task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations has issued two reports that address terrorist financing and Saudi Arabia’s alleged financial support for terrorism. The task force’s second report.” The report welcomes these steps and concludes that “on a comparative basis Saudi Arabia has recently taken more decisive legal and regulatory action to combat terrorist financing than many other Muslim states.Saudi Arabia in 1997. Saudi nationals have always constituted a disproportionate percentage of Al Qaeda’s own membership. For example. individuals and charities based in Saudi Arabia has been the most important source of funds for Al Qaeda. According to the report. and regulatory systems and to combat terrorist financing since late 2002. the report stated both in its summary and in the main body: “For years. released in June 2004.” implying that donations to terrorist causes not only originate in these countries but also those donations from other countries pass through them en route to terrorist organizations. legal. U.” The authors argued that a connection between Saudi donors and Al Qaeda is logical for several reasons: “Saudi Arabia possesses the greatest concentration of wealth in the region. And for years. Saudi nationals and charities were previously the most important sources of funds for the mujahideen [fighters against the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan]. updates the first report and chronicles the steps the Saudi Arabian government has taken to strengthen its financial. As a result of this assistance. officials in interviewing members of the bin Laden family in 1999 and 2000. officials learned that Saudi government actions in the early 1990s had in effect divested bin Laden of his share of the bin Laden family fortune. efforts to understand the role of bin Laden’s personal wealth in the financing of Al Qaeda. The Saudi government responded by charging that the report’s allegations were based on “false and inconclusive information.S. The report also credits Saudi government actions following the May 2003 bombings in Riyadh which “apparently reduced the funds available to Al Qaeda perhaps drastically. The task force’s October 2002 report strongly criticized what it asserted was Saudi financial support for international terrorist groups.” A Treasury Department spokesperson reportedly described the report as “seriously flawed” because in the Department’s opinion it did not describe new initiatives adequately.” Council on Foreign Relations Studies.” The report grouped Saudi Arabia with Pakistan.S. and Al Qaeda’s political message has long focused on issues of particular interest to Saudi nationals. especially those who are disenchanted with their own government. the Saudi government has “announced the enactment or promulgation of a profusion of new laws and regulations and the creation of new institutional arrangements that are intended to tighten controls over the principal modalities of terrorist financing. The report argues that these meetings were integral to U.
District Court of New York seeking $875 million in damages. which the Saudi media have described as an attempt to extort Saudi deposits in the United States. For example.” Saudi authorities claim to have prosecuted five individuals “for terror financing” and frozen the assets “of number of other individuals. Adel Al Jubeir. Linde V. six families of victims killed or injured in terrorist attacks in Israel filed a civil lawsuit against Arab Bank PLC of Jordan in the U.authorities can do more to combat terrorist financing.” A Treasury Department spokesperson reportedly agreed with the report’s assertion that Saudi Arabia should take further steps to combat terrorist financing. however. It argues that additional action is essential “because of the fundamental centrality that persons and organizations based in Saudi Arabia have had in financing militant Islamist groups on a global basis. the families of more than 600 victims of the September 11 attacks filed a suit for approximately $1 trillion against three members of the Saudi royal family. 2003. The suit. and other terrorist entities (for a full description of the Committee. alleges that the defendants enabled the September 11 attacks to occur by making financial resources available to the perpetrators. Islamic Jihad. foreign policy advisor to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah and chief Saudi spokesman. charged that the task force’s conclusions were “politically motivated. were entitled to foreign sovereign immunity for their official acts. 2004. In response to the lawsuit Shukri Bishara. and factually incorrect.” In response to the second report’s release. Judge James Robertson of the U. reportedly said that “the accusations are completely false and baseless and Arab Bank never participated in any activity knowingly that could lead to violence.” The report cites a lack of publicly available enforcement information as the basis for its questions about the Saudi government’s commitment to implement its new terrorist financing laws and regulations. District Court of the District of Columbia ruled that two of the leading defendants. the report specifically criticizes the Saudi government’s “failure to punish. specific and identified leaders of charities found to be funneling money to militant Islamist organizations. The September 11 Lawsuit. On July 2.” A Saudi embassy official also 5 |Page . and the government of Sudan. Arab Bank. the Central Bank of Jordan ordered all Jordanian banks “to freeze any dealing” with six Hamas figures and associated charities. ill-informed.S. The complaint also alleges that the Saudi Committee used accounts in Arab Bank and Arab Bank branches in the Palestinian territories to provide “insurance benefits” to the families of suicide bombers and others killed or detained in confrontations with Israeli security forces. Although the Saudi government is not a party to the lawsuit. Defense Minister Prince Sultan and former Director of Intelligence Prince Turki. the complaint alleges that the Saudi Committee for the Support of the Al Quds Intifada used accounts established at Arab Bank as conduits for funds to charities and individuals in the West Bank and Gaza Strip associated with the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). see ‘Funding for Palestinian Organizations’ below).S. a senior executive at Arab Bank. In mid-August 2002. In 2003. in a demonstrable manner. On November 14. a number of financial institutions and individuals.
persons who claim to have read the still-classified section of the report say it covers Saudi links with individuals involved in the attacks. report in the public record. In the 900-page report.N.N.” The report has been the subject of a lawsuit in the United Kingdom regarding defamation of character. federal regulators fined Riggs $25 million for failing to actively monitor financial transfers through Saudi Arabian and other bank accounts. 6 |Page . but Saudi sources say it was a Saudi decision to end the Relationship. a crucial chapter on foreign support for the hijackers is virtually all blanked out 28 pages in all because the Administration refused on national security grounds to release the chapter in a public forum. The Riggs National Bank. the official left the Treasury Department to become a vice president at Riggs.” In 2003. Scrutiny of Riggs Bank. In 2002. Treasury and law enforcement officials and has been fined $25 million “for numerous violations of the Bank Secrecy Act. by “abusing this pillar of Islam [charitable donations] and taking advantage of the Saudi regulatory vacuum. The declassification and release in mid-2003 of the report of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11. which for two decades had been the chief banker for the Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Washington. has come under scrutiny from U. Saudi accounts at Riggs were closed in early March 2004 at the bank’s initiative. the period in which alleged money laundering violations occurred.” Report. according to some sources. 2001 also brought attention to the alleged role of Saudi Arabia in supporting terrorism. although it has been mischaracterized as a U. The FBI is currently investigating the activities of the former chief federal bank examiner for Riggs from 1998 to 2002. and a British High Court ruled in July 2004 that allegations contained within the report were “untrue. A controversial private report issued by French investigator Jean-Charles Brisard in December 2002 made several detailed allegations about the involvement of prominent Saudi nationals in the financing of international terrorist organizations. The Brisard “U. 2004. Riggs began filing “suspicious activity reports” (SARs) of unusual or unexplained transactions involving the Saudi Embassy’s bank accounts. Brisard’s report asserted that Al Qaeda received between $300 million and $500 million during the decade prior to 2002. but the President refused on the grounds that an ongoing investigation of the September 11 attacks might be compromised. Although most public allegations of Saudi support for terrorist activities have not quantified the amounts of money involved.” Brisard described Saudi donors as “wealthy businessmen and bankers. The United Nations Security Council did not solicit or endorse Brisard’s report.reaffirmed that the Saudi government has not provided financial support for terrorism. The Saudi foreign minister appealed to President Bush to publish the censored pages so as to enable Saudi Arabia to rebut these suspicions. There has been speculation about the degree to which the deleted pages might reveal Saudi complicity in the September 11 attacks. Joint Congressional Report.S. On May 13. According to the press.
press reports cited intelligence gathered following U. Saudi officials vigorously denied the claims and appealed for U. Saudi Arabia has contributed $1 billion in loans and credits to reconstruction efforts in Iraq and U. which indicated that “a handful of senior Iraqi Baathists operating in Syria are collecting money from private sources in Saudi Arabia and Europe” and are channeling it to insurgent groups.5 million for relief efforts in Iraq. the Saudi government established an official government bank account. The Saudi government administers official aid programs in Iraq under the supervision of the Saudi Committee for the Relief of the Iraqi People and the Saudi Red Crescent Society.Informed sources have stated to Asharq Al-Awsat that Somali pirates have asked for a ransom of $20 million for the release of the Saudi Arabian ship "Al-Nisr Al-Saudi" and its crew which were hijacked last week in the Gulf of Aden.S. 13 Sri Lankans and the ship's captain who is Greek. including the November 2004 assault on Fallujah. Orry also told Asharq Al-Awsat that "the negotiations are being conducted by a representative of the pirates who contacted them [the insurance company] via a satellite telephone where he was informed that the ship is insured and negotiations are being carried out with the insurance company. Kamal Orry." Orry also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that "the ship has a 14-man crew. Asharq Al-Awsat. the owner and chairman of the Jeddah-based International Bunkering Company which owns the hijacked ship told Asharq Al-Awsat in a telephone interview that "the hijackers – who are Somali pirates – have demanded a ransom of $20 million in return for the release of the ship and its crew.S. to consolidate public and private donations in support of the Iraqi people. an unidentified Defense Department official told the press those private Saudi individuals and charities were channeling funds to insurgent groups in Iraq. Unified Account Number 111. In October 2004. PIRATES THAT HIJACKED THE SAUDI ARABIAN OIL SHIPS Jeddah. military operations." 7 |Page . In December 2004. In May 2003." He added "they contacted their families yesterday and they are in good health. however he refused to disclose the name of this insurance company or the details of the insurance agreement to Asharq AlAwsat." Orry also confirmed that he was not involved in the negotiations and that the insurance company that covers Al-Nisr Al-Saudi's insurance was conducting the negotiations with the pirates. The Committee held a fundraising telethon in April 2003. officials have engaged Saudi authorities regarding forgiveness of Iraqi debt.Allegations of Support for Iraqi Insurgents. officials to provide concrete information in support of the charges so that Saudi authorities could investigate and prosecute any individuals or entities that may have been involved. the Saudi Minister of Interior directs the Committee’s operations. including shipments to the former-insurgent stronghold of Fallujah during the summer of 2004. Prince Nayef bin Abd Al Aziz. Saudi press reports describing the operations of the Committee and the Red Crescent Society indicate that numerous shipments of food aid and medical supplies have been delivered across Iraq since April 2003. which reportedly raised $11.S.
In light of this evidence. about Saudi funding of Hamas. News agencies quoted Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme as confirming that said that the Saudi-owned 5. Saudi denials about terrorist funding don't hold water. the Saudis back the civilian infrastructure of Hamas with extremist textbooks glorifying jihad and martyrdom that are used by schools and Islamic societies throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But externally. nonetheless. IIRO and other suspected global Saudi charities are not NGOs. complained. in fact. Prince Salman. after the May 12 triple bombing attack in Riyadh. a full brother of King Fahd. It was hoped. underwriting 60-70 percent of the Hamas budget. Orry said "the ship is new and modern and was not carrying any oil at the time of the hijack. Defense Minister Prince Sultan has been cited as a major IIRO contributor.” is according to former CIA operative Robert Baer. in a handwritten December 2000 letter to Salman. While the Bush administration decided to redact 28 sensitive pages of the Joint Intelligence Report of the U. near the port of Harardhere. the Saudis were still engaged in terrorist financing.S. the Saudi Arabian oil tanker the Sirius Star was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. Saudi Arabia Provided the Ideological Backdrop for 9/11 8 |Page ." The ship was destined to operate as part of the International Bunkering Company operations in the Gulf of Jeddah where it would refuel other ships at sea. Internally.136 tonne al-Nisr al-Saudi ship which was seized on Monday is currently moored off the Somali coast. In 2008. Mahmoud Abbas. Saudi involvement in terrorist financing can be documented through materials captured by Israel in Palestinian headquarters in 2002-3. Congress. Ideological infiltration of Palestinian society by the Saudis in this way is reminiscent of their involvement in the madrassa system of Pakistan during the 1980s. Additionally. Saudi Arabia's Dubious Denials Of Involvement International Terrorism Saudi Arabia's past involvement in international terrorism is indisputable. and it was also later moored off the Somali coast. since their boards of directors are headed by Saudi cabinet members. which gave birth to the Taliban and other pro bin-Laden groups. in violation of their "roadmap" commitments to President Bush. that Saudi Arabia might halt its support for terrorism.000 to 14 Hamas charities. controls IIRO distributions "with an iron hand. a Somali pirate stronghold.He also revealed that this ship is brand new and was heading to Jeddah from Japan when it was hijacked. Israel retrieved a document of the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) which detailed the allocation of $280. the Saudi security forces moved against al-Qaeda cells all over the kingdom.
All the organizations emerged from under the robe of Wahhabism. most well-informed observers of the Middle East were shocked to hear that 15 out of the 19 hijackers who carried out the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were Saudi citizens. was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. up to the Luxor massacre in 1997. 9 |Page . 2001. and fanatical streams. and emerged bearing with them terrorist thought regarding Takfir . terrorism had been associated with states like Libya. He drew a direct link between the rise of much of contemporary terrorism and Saudi Arabia's main Islamic creed. as we have seen. Yet over time it became clearer how Saudi Arabia could have provided the ideological backdrop that spawned al-Qaeda's attack on the United States. They also bore with them funds they received from the Saudi charities. or Iran. from the assassination of the late president Anwar Sadat in October 1981. Osama bin Laden. I can state with certainly that after a very careful reading of all the documents and texts of the official investigations linked to all acts of terror that have taken place in Egypt. Ruz al-Yousef (the Newsweek of Egypt).which Saudi authorities must admit is a local Saudi organization that drew other organizations into it. Saudi Arabia was the main station through which most of the Egyptian extremists passed. Syria. In a series of articles appearing in the Egyptian weekly. It was equally surprising that the mastermind of the worst terrorist attack on the United States in its history. and destroy them.thought that they drew from the sheikhs of Wahhabism. press called "incontrovertible evidence" linking Saudis to the financing of al-Qaeda operatives in the United States.Nine years ago on September 11. Saudi Arabia had been a pro-Western force during the Cold War and had hosted large coalition armies during the 1991 Gulf War. abolish them. The extremist religious groups have moved from the stage of Takfir [condemning other Muslims as unbelievers] to the stage of "annihilation and destruction.S. that accuse others of heresy. Interior Minister Prince Naif even tried to pin the blame for the attacks on Israel. closed. saying it was impossible that Saudi youth could have been involved. and the financial involvement of Saudi Arabia's large charitable organizations: Wahhabism leads. This background only sharpened the questions of many after the attacks: What was the precise source of the hatred that drove these men to take their own lives in an act of mass murder? The Saudis were initially in a state of denial about their connection to September 11. Saudi Arabia had not been colonized during its history." in accordance with the strategy of Al-Qa'ida . Wahhabism. attempted to grapple with this issue. like other Middle Eastern states that had endured a legacy of European imperialism. For decades. to the birth of extremist. Congress and its disclosure of what the U. and not the other way around.S. This curiosity and wonder about the Saudi role in the attack came up once more with the release of the September 11 Joint Intelligence Report by the U. Wael al-Abrashi. the magazine's deputy editor.
059 casualties. a growing percentage of terrorist attacks are designed to kill as many people as possible. The 10 | P a g e . There are dramatically fewer international terrorist incidents than in the mid-eighties. by focusing on the history of American policy in the Middle East or other external factors. which once provided support to terrorist groups. including recent militant trends among Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi clerics and the role of large Saudi global charities in terrorist financing. growing. This requires a careful look at how Saudi Arabia contributed to the ideological roots of some of the new wave of international terrorism as well as how the kingdom emerged as a critical factor in providing the resources needed by many terrorist groups. Overseas attacks against the United States in recent years have followed the same trend. The circumstances surrounding the millennium border arrests of foreign nationals suggest that the suspects planned to target a large group assembled for a New Year's celebration. However. The thwarted attacks against New York City's infrastructure in 1993 which included plans to bomb the Lincoln and Holland tunnels-. airliners in Asia. Iran is the clearest case. if most of the world's countries are firmer in opposing terrorism. In 1995. no longer exists. Many of the groups that targeted America's interests. The bombs that destroyed the military barracks in Saudi Arabia and two U.S.Thus. practical international cooperation. friends. and allies have disappeared. more importantly. The International Terrorism Threat Is Changing • Who are the international terrorists? • What are their motives and how do they get their support? • How can we stop them? The answers to these questions have changed significantly over the last 25 years. The Soviet bloc. Embassies in Africa inflicted 6.000. Now. a growing number of Middle Eastern analysts have concentrated instead on internal Saudi factors. killing tens of thousands of people.also were intended to cause mass casualties. while some Western commentators have sought to explain the roots of al-Qaeda's fury at the U. In the 1990s a terrorist incident was almost 20 percent more likely to result in death or injury than an incident two decades ago.S. Philippine authorities uncovered a terrorist plot to bring down 11 U. Countries that once excused terrorism now condemn it. Those arrested in Jordan in late December had also planned attacks designed to kill large numbers. The World Trade Center bombing in New York killed six and wounded about 1.S. This changed international attitude has led to 12 United Nations conventions targeting terrorist activity and. but the terrorists' goal was to topple the twin towers. some still support terrorists or use terrorism as an element of state policy.
The shift in terrorist motives has contributed to a change in the way some international terrorist groups are structured. and North Korea may still provide weapons to terrorists. seemingly without concern about alienating sympathizers. Cuba provides safe haven to a number of terrorists. Other states allow terrorist groups to operate on their soil or provide support which. the changing motivation of today's terrorists. refuge.S. Libya continues to provide support to some Palestinian terrorist groups and to harass expatriate dissidents. and weapons to terrorists. and Afghanistan provide funding. is unique. while failing short of state sponsorship. If al-Qaida and Osama bin Ladin were to disappear tomorrow. but the groups most dangerous to the United States share some characteristics not seen 10 or 20 years ago: • They operate in the United States as well as abroad. it calls on numerous militant groups that share some of its ideological beliefs to support its violent campaign against the United States. represent a growing trend toward hatred of the United States. But neither al-Qaida's extremist politico-religious beliefs nor its leader. and are harder to disrupt with economic sanctions. Their objectives are more deadly. which is believed to have bombed the U. training bases. they can rely on loose affiliations with like-minded groups from a variety of countries to support their common cause against the United States. Sudan. al-Qaida. Osama bin Ladin. they have less need for a hierarchical structure. Instead. Increasingly. are less dependent on state sponsors. Such groups may lack a concrete political goal other than to punish their enemies by killing as many of them as possible. The trend toward higher casualties reflects. Not all terrorists are the same. in part. In addition to pursuing its own terrorist campaign. The regimes of Syria. the United States would still face potential terrorist threats from a growing number of groups opposed to perceived American hegemony. nonetheless gives terrorists important assistance. Al-Qaida is the best-known transnational terrorist organization. Embassies in Africa. Religiously motivated terrorist groups. attacks are less likely to be followed by claims of responsibility or lists of political demands.Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Ministry of intelligence and Security carry out terrorist activities and give direction and support to other terrorists. • • They make use of widely available technologies to communicate quickly and securely. Because groups based on ideological or religious motives may lack a specific political or nationalistic agenda. new terrorist threats can suddenly emerge from isolated conspiracies or obscure cults with no previous history of violence. 11 | P a g e . Other terrorist groups are driven by visions of a postapocalyptic future or by ethnic hatred. such as Osama bin Ladin's group. Moreover. • Their funding and logistical networks cross borders.
But the fact he was a Jew was a ready excuse to silence a fair inquiry. Quoting Henry Kissinger. Turns out he wasn't the one selling out US Intelligence. Jonathan Pollard tried to warn both the US and Israel of what was going on and got "nailed to the cross" for treason. Saudi Arabia: Number One Terrorist State Appeasement of Saudi Arabia even in the aftermath of September 11 is absurd and borders on treason. Saudi Arabia is still the largest sponsor and supporter of Islamic terrorism in the world. The hate being taught in schools and mosques must be ended. "The Saudis are pro-American." Guess the homicide bombings in Saudi Arabia and the inside help the terrorists got from Saudi officials has proven his point wrong. This time powerful figures were targeted such as the World 12 | P a g e . as they seemed to have lost control. 9/11 caught us by surprise and had an overwhelming effect on us. Spreading the Wahhabi Cult across the Muslim world (including many Muslims in America) and teaching hate and intolerance. Now Saudi Arabia itself may be the target of its own terrorists. Today all of the western countries are looking to the Arab countries as they are terrorist countries due to the incident that occurred in the past.This changing nature of the terrorist threat raises the stakes in getting American counterterrorist policies and practices right. Brzezinski’s "excellent idea" (going back to President Carter) of using fundamentalist Islam to fight Soviet Communism has backfired by failing to grasp Islam's (Wahhabism) inherent link with violence and intolerance. even of non-Wahhabi Muslims. $3 a gallon for gas is cheaper then the next September 11. the real culprits were a pair of WASP's nailed in the 1990's. This is stupid because that will also go out of control. The American "crack whore" addiction to cheap oil must end or we will continue to sell-out everything we stand for just to get the next fix. and ultimately we can manage them. The real winner of Western appeasement has been Osama bin Laden and like-minded religious fanatics. What is terrorism? In the past years we have all experienced or heard about some sort of attack that has made a huge impact on us. not a Jew. Unless President Bush stops covering up for Saudi Arabia and using terrorists to bolster American policy. they have to operate in a difficult region. Threatening Americans has become a worthy goal for Ashcroft and Bush. Arab countries try to proof that they are innocent from such acts because Islam as a religion calls for stopping this behavior against humanity. This denial is as irrational as the culture and religion that caused it. It does nothing to help the Muslim world (at least its leadership) come out of its state of deep denial for the responsibility for the worst terrorist outrage of all time. Islam respects human rights and tries to spread peace and harmony. A few years ago. the War on Terrorism is a sick joke. The US helped create bin Laden then ignored the problem in order to appease Saudi Arabia. And the US seems to be planning to use terrorists against Iran.
Trade Center which symbolizes America's influential economy. To clarify things.”International terrorism of the 1970s and 1980s compared to that of the terrorism we face in the beginning of the new millennium has changed or rather evolved in a number of aspects and in particular with regards to. has condemned these acts. coercion. has been mixed. Of 16 religious leaders cited by Hamas. a change in the methods of exercising violence and the scale of violent with particular reference to the number of victims targeted. this gains recognition for their cause. Sheikh 13 | P a g e . To his credit. Saudi Arabia's Minister for Islamic Affairs. Terrorists usually do claim responsibility for their actions after the media is aware that something happened. the issue of terrorism has become a permanent actor in the daily amphitheater of international politics. These groups are often underground and individuals rarely step forward. and the rapid progression of technologies. especially after 9/11. the current Saudi Grand Mufti. in fact. the objectives becoming increasingly unrealistic and “apocalyptic”. The formal Saudi position on suicide bombings. which represents America's military power. Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al al-Sheikh. It is very difficult to resolve the international problem of terrorism for several major reasons. Saudi clerics were featured prominently on Hamas websites as providing the religious justification for suicide bombings. and violent attacks to achieve the objectives of an individual or of a group" Compare and contrast the international terrorism of the early 21st century with the international terrorism of the 1970s and 1980s. Saudis are the largest national group backing these attacks. This is a direct result of the shifting political. terrifying part of our society today. 2001. it's not a case of Jack the Ripper sending an ear to the cops and warning them who his next victim will be. Terrorists usually don't claim responsibility for their actions until the fuse is lit. a shift in ideology from political to fanatical religious. Yet at the same time. social and economic climate of the world. how can you arrest an entire group that you can't touch? Terrorism following the dramatic events of September 11. mass media. it has become a large. There have been other attacks such as these. threats. globalization. and if it were not for the courageous passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 the White House would have been another target. the Pentagon. which is often the reason they resort to terrorism in the first place. Whether or not we understand the proper meaning of terrorism. a careful examination of some of the worst suicide bombings by the Hamas organization against the State of Israel also leads to Saudi Arabia. some of which have also taken place on an airplane like the Egypt Air Flight 648 that was heading to Cairo from Athens on November 23. the scientific definition of terrorism is "the use of intimidation. As of September 2003. Every American should realize what terrorism entails. Ideological Roots of the New Terrorism and Its Global Export While these developments may seem far beyond the horizon of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
" The Hamas-Saudi connection should not come as a surprise.Saleh Al al-Sheikh. When al-Shuaibi died in 2002. Other militant Islamic movements cite Saudi Wahhabi clerics to justify their activities . Sheikh Hamud bin Uqla al-Shuaibi. Sheikh Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Al al-Sheikh.the victims are considered to have died a martyr's death. entitled The Foundations of the Legality of the Destruction That Befell America. He wrote on November 16. Al-Shuaibi's ideas. Shortly thereafter a Saudi book appeared on the Internet justifying the murder of thousands of Americans. When Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yasin was let out of an Israeli prison in 1998. including the current Grand Mufti and the former Minister of Islamic Affairs and Muslim World League secretarygeneral. that he hoped Allah would bring further destruction upon the United States. Born in 1925 in the Wahhabi stronghold of Buraida. just after the September 11 attacks. Coincidentally. in short. had global reach. But there were other voices as well. has condoned them: "The suicide bombings are permitted. found in a Taliban office in Kabul. The question that must be asked is whether a religious leader of this sort is a peripheral figure on the fringes of society or whether he reflects more mainstream thinking. Hamas emerged in 1987 from the Gaza branch of Muslim Brotherhood which." he listed Sheikh Yasin's release from prison as one of his demands or grievances. had become a key Saudi ally in previous decades. For example. The Introduction to the book was written by a prominent Saudi religious leader. Sheikh al-Shuaibi appears on the Hamas website. he was a student of King Faisal's Grand Mufti. soldiers in western Iraq by a Wahhabi group called al-Jama'a al-Salafiya were dedicated to his name and to the names of other Saudi clerics. alShuaibi had very strong credentials.. In fact. he went to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment and Crown Prince Abdullah made a high-profile visit to his hospital bedside. as a religious source for suicide attacks. AlShuaibi's roster of students read like a "Who's Who" of Saudi Arabia. As late as early 2002. Bin Laden had made the fate of Sheikh Yasin an issue for his al-Qaeda followers as well. as well. Abdullah was hosting Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradhawi. Al-Shuaibi's name appears in a book entitled the Great Book of Fatwas. many central Saudi figures attended 14 | P a g e . In order to evaluate the significance of these religious rulings. noted earlier. Its presence was usually indicative in other regions of Saudi identification with local militant causes. the ubiquitous IIRO was lauded by the Saudi press for its support activities in the Sunni districts of post-Saddam Iraq. Attacks on U.S. it is necessary to focus on the stature of these various Saudi clerical figures that jihadi movements worldwide were citing. In his 1996 "Declaration of War. 2001. in western Iraq. Abdullah al-Turki. the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.S.from the Chechen groups battling the Russians to Iraqi mujahidin fighting the U. Saudi support for suicide bombings has wider repercussions. it is true that many Saudi government officials condemned them.. as noted earlier.
Salfit. and were part of the "civilian" infrastructure of Hamas. according to legal documents submitted on behalf of 15 | P a g e . and the Tulkarm area. From the CIA's interrogation of an al-Qaeda operative.an official branch of the Saudi government. For example. Abu Dis. Militant Saudi texts extolling martyrdom were infiltrated into schools throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. an offshoot of the Muslim World League). creating a whole generation of students that absorbed their extremist messages. The Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs chairs the secretariat of WAMY and the administrative council of al-Haramain. It would be incorrect to view these charities as purely non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or private charities. he was mainstream. and Islamic Propagation and Guidance . Both the "Koran and Sunna Society-Palestine" and the "Dar al-Arqam Model School" were supported by the Saudi-based World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). used texts that cited Sheikh Sulaiman bin Nasser al-Ulwan. who is also a Saudi cabinet member." The pro-Hamas "Dar al-Arqam Model School" in Gaza. but which became penetrated by prominent individuals from al-Qaeda's global jihadi network. Furthermore. In 2003. was used as a conduit for funding al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia. a pro-al-Qaeda Saudi cleric.his funeral. All three are suspected by various global intelligence organizations of terrorist funding. for example. as they are mistakenly called. Financial Support for the New Global Terrorism As already demonstrated. who actually was a member of the Directorate of Religious Research. chairs the Constituent Council of the Muslim World League. the World Assembly of Muslim Youth. Indeed. Saudi Arabia erected a number of large global charities in the 1960s and 1970s whose original purpose may have been to spread Wahhabi Islam. Jenin. The export of this jihadi ideology to the Palestinians was reminiscent of the Saudi support for madrasses in western Pakistan during the 1980s. the Hamas-oriented "Koran and Sunna Society-Palestine. All three organizations have received large charitable contributions from the Saudi royal family that have been detailed in Saudi periodicals. The Saudi Grand Mufti. and the Charitable Foundations of al-Haramain. His militant ideas about justifying the September 11 attacks were echoed by Sheikh Abdullah bin Abdul Rahman Jibrin. it was learned that al-Haramain. that was established with Saudi aid. Russia's Federal Security Service charged that al-Haramain was wiring funds to Chechen militants in 1999. It distributed Saudi texts praising suicide attacks against "the infidels" and condemning those who dodge their obligations to join "the jihad." that had been established in 1996 in Kalkilya. whose name is mentioned in a bin Laden video clip from December 2001. Islamic Legal Rulings. In short. The three most prominent of these charities were the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO. had branches in Bethlehem. At the apex of each organization's board is a top Saudi official. the religious opinions of Saudi militant clerics were turning up in Hamas educational institutions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. which gave birth to the Taliban and other pro-bin Laden groups.
He denied that the Saudis finance Hamas. In an intercepted telephone conversation. In 1994. The Saudis' Denials Don't Hold Water The Saudis have been equally vociferous in their denials. IIRO has been suspected of terrorist funding in the Philippines. a whole array of documents was uncovered which show these repeated Saudi denials to be completely baseless. that since the establishment of the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Russia." He wanted the funds for Fatah. a senior al-Qaeda operative told a subordinate: "Don't ever worry about money. on December 30. indicating the IIRO's readiness to have its offices used in support of militant actions. Crown Prince Abdullah's foreign policy advisor." More recently. One of the strongest pieces of evidence came from a handwritten letter written in Arabic by the former Palestinian prime minister. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage admitted in Australia that "some money from Saudi private charities had gone toward funding militants in Iraq. in the 9/11 lawsuit. governor of Riyadh and a full brother of King Fahd. It is a handwritten account on IIRO stationery from the late 1980's of a meeting attended by the secretary-general of the Muslim World League and bin Laden representatives.governmental organizations. Adel al-Jubeir. These charges about Saudi Arabia bankrolling Hamas have become even more vociferous in recent years. These ties were allegedly already in place in the mid-1990s when a Hamas funding group received instructions to write letters of thanks to executives of IIRO and WAMY for funds it had received.000 a year to the IIRO for sixteen years. As already noted. Abbas explained. East Africa. 2002: "We do not allow funding to go from Saudi Arabia to Hamas. these Saudi charities were full-fledged GOs . The earliest documented links between one of these charities and terrorists was found in Bosnia. Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).the Saudis by their legal team in the firm Baker Botts. In short. "belongs to Hamas. in general. to Prince Salman. because Saudi Arabia's money is your money. He also provided a much smaller sum to WAMY. Yet during Israel's Operation Defensive Shield last year. Prince Sultan provided $266. President Clinton made a brief stop-over in Saudi Arabia during which he complained about Saudi funding of Hamas. Bosnia. But the strongest documented cases that demonstrate the ties between Saudi Arabia's global charities and international terrorism are related to Hamas.S. Al-Qaeda operatives became accustomed to Saudi Arabia being their source of support. U. 2003. Abbas complained that Saudi donations in the Gaza Strip are going to an organization called al-Jamiya al-Islamiya (the Islamic Society) which. asserted on CNN's "Crossfire" on August 16. Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told the Saudi daily Arab News on June 23. 2000. and India. 16 | P a g e . As recently as mid-August 2003. the Saudi Kingdom only sends funding through the PLO.
headed the family that established the SAAR (the acronym for his name) foundation in Herndon. federal agents because of suspected terrorist links. for those investigating other cases of global terrorism. Spreadsheets from the Saudi Committee for Aid to the al-Quds Intifada were found that detailed the movement of moneys to the families of suicide bombers. Thus.S. the Saudis were not only funding the current generation of terrorism but also the next generation as well. Yet. The Saudis were clearly uncomfortable with the Israeli discoveries." There was further evidence tying the Saudis to Hamas. contained no reference to Hamas. but only to undefined Islamic groups.600 Palestinian pre-schoolers. Sulaiman al-Rajhi. 2003. It was significant. Others re-enacted the lynching of Israelis or other terrorist attacks.Al-Jamiya al-Islamiya was not just a Hamas front. Abbas made explicit reference to Hamas as a recipient of Saudi aid. Al-Rajhi Banking and Investment was one of the largest Saudi banking networks which serviced the Saudi charities.000 was to be allocated to 14 Hamas front groups. In the words of Secretary of State Colin Powell. For example. including al-Qaeda. who received Mahmoud Abbas's letter of complaint. Virginia. this kind of support "incentivized" the suicide terrorist attacks. al-Jubeir argued that Mahmoud Abbas's letter to Prince Salman. Al-Jamiya al-Islamiya posted the photographs on its website. at a kindergarten graduation involving some of its 1. since very often these groups shared the same funding mechanisms. supporting positive social programs and secretly diverting funds to military activity. The Hamas case demonstrated the mode of operation of Saudi charities in support of terrorism. There were other documents linking Saudi institutions to terrorist financing. Alternatively. There were other conduits for terrorist funding that were disclosed. IIRO and BMI. headed by the Saudi Minister of the Interior. noted above. Saudi spokesmen tried to distance themselves from this activity by arguing that they helped these families through "international aid organizations. controlled IIRO distributions "with an iron hand." Yet it became clear from the spreadsheets that these contributions were given through a specifically Saudi organization. A five-year-old girl dipped her hands in what was supposed to be Israeli blood and then lifted them for the cameras. a New Jersey-based Islamic investment bank. Indeed. Former CIA operative Robert Baer has contended that the very same Prince Salman. in his own handwriting. as well. Adel al-Jubeir tried to question the authenticity of the documents. which was raided last year by U. Prince Naif. on the BBC interview program "Hardtalk" with Tim Sebastian on August 15. children wore uniforms and carried mock rifles. Checks made out to well-known Hamas fronts from the corporate account of al-Rajhi Banking and Investment at Chase Manhattan Bank were also uncovered. in fact. An actual IIRO document was found that detailed how $280. Thus. the name "Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" stands out. were involved in Hamas funding and are 17 | P a g e . Its head. at the top right-hand corner of the spreadsheets found in the West Bank. Even its showcase "humanitarian" activities were reprehensible. he attempted to misrepresent their content.
he actually had been invited by Crown Prince Abdullah himself. it made sense.S. These discrepancies between Saudi declarations and realities on the ground have been found elsewhere. nonetheless. since President Bush had clearly stated that in the war on terrorism. states were "either with us or with the terrorists?" Yet just weeks before the newest Saudi assurances were provided on terrorist financing at a news conference in Washington. "charitable groups have been closely monitored and additional audits have been performed to assure that there are no links to suspected groups. which had been labeled by the U. the al-Haramain office in Ashland. 2001. government as an international terrorist organization. Indonesia. one of the three main Saudi charities was hosting the leader of one of the "suspected groups. Oregon. embassies in East Africa. the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington released a nine-page report detailing the steps they had taken to keep better track of what the charities were doing." in Riyadh. While Hamas had refused at the time to stop its suicide attacks. 2003. As a casestudy. though its lawyer argued it did not receive funds from its main office in Riyadh. 2001. Khaled Mashal. that al-Haramain put its large headquarters in a Jakarta suburb up for rent and simply "moved to a smaller house down the block. Hamas's funding is particularly useful to examine." Hamas. Saudi diplomats argued that after September 11. Jane Perlez reported in the New York Times from Jakarta. Defying President Bush Most of the documents discovered in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were dated from the year 2000.suspected to have financed the 1998 bombing of the U.” In another case. since it is the best-documented case of how the Saudis used their charities to back militant activities. Saudi officials reassured Mashal of continuing support. news conference in Washington. one of the top leaders of Hamas. in December 2002. was still up and running in September 2003.S. According to a captured Hamas document that detailed Khaled Mashal's visit to Saudi Arabia. they had turned over a new leaf. had been invited to Riyadh for a WAMY conference. Besides requiring difficult measures by Israelis and Palestinians alike. In a June 12. A new context for the issue of Saudi funding of terrorist groups was created when President Bush issued the "Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the IsraeliPalestinian Conflict" on April 30." Was this indeed the new Saudi policy. The Saudi report stated that since September 11. For example. So while in Washington the press corps was told that there were no longer any ties between the Saudi charities and "suspected groups. Adel al-Jubeir announced that al-Haramain "would be shutting down all of its foreign offices. 2003. 2003. Yet on July 5. the first phase of the new Bush administration plan specifically called on Arab states to "cut off public and private funding and all other forms of support for groups supporting 18 | P a g e .
and engaging in violence and terror. was asked about Saudi efforts to stop terrorist financing. 2003. Muslim writers have argued in the past that a hudna is to be maintained until the balance of power improves for the Muslim side. while the Saudis appear to be taking their own domestic threat seriously. After all. Egypt. including 9 Americans. On June 29. Crown Prince Abdullah had made a commitment to President Bush at Sharm el-Sheikh. but at the same time vigorously sought to rebuild its operational infrastructure. appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and still described Saudi Arabia as "the epicenter" of terrorist financing. Jiddah. the Saudi government began uncovering al-Qaeda cells and munitions in Riyadh. on May 12. Sheikh Ahmed Yasin.S. including Hamas. 2003. Moreover. on July 31. For example." could only say with respect to Saudi moves against terrorist financing. Indeed. on June 26." This has been borne out by the Israeli experience with Hamas. thanked IIRO and WAMY for their assistance during a public address in the Gaza Strip.S." In short. the Saudis found that the fire they had ignited was coming back to burn them as well. 2003. Mecca. there is no indication that they have scaled back terrorism financing abroad. After providing the ideological and financial basis for the growth of al-Qaeda and its sister organizations. policy and not defy President Bush. It might have been expected that Saudi Arabia would adhere to this firm U. Having denied that there was an al-Qaeda presence in the Saudi kingdom. law enforcement officials agree. including an effort to increase the quantity and quality of Qassam rockets launched against Israelis towns. as well. and in the northern al-Jawf area. Pistole. Saudi Arabia had to come under the roadmap. Jordan. David Aufhauser. the Hamas spiritual leader. 2003. President Bush announced that they had committed themselves to use all means to cut off assistance to any terror group. U. the General Counsel to the Treasury Department. Saudi Arabia continues to aid the families of suicide bombers. That was more than a month after the Riyadh bombings. Meeting the leaders of Saudi Arabia. and Bahrain at Sharm el-Sheikh on June 3. Unfortunately. the Acting FBI Director for Counterterrorism. More than two months after the bombing. Some Israeli estimates of the Saudi portion of the Hamas budget have been put at 60-70 percent. Funding Hamas clearly jeopardized efforts to reach a full-scale cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians and increased the likelihood that Hamas would 19 | P a g e . John Pistole. in August 2003. Medina. "the jury's still out. The Israeli national assessment is that Saudi Arabia today funds more than 50 percent of the needs of Hamas. 2003. and the Saudi percentage in the total foreign aid to Hamas is actually growing. It helps dual-use charities and charities that funnel funds directly to military activities against Israel. Saudi Arabia itself was struck by a triple suicide bombing that led to 35 fatalities. who praised the level of Saudi cooperation with the FBI on investigating the Riyadh bombings as "unprecedented. Hamas agreed to a temporary truce with Israel called a hudna.
Need Zero Tolerance for Terrorist Funding This analysis was intended to disclose the critical role of Saudi Arabia in providing ideological and financial support for the new terrorism. The law contained steep fines and long jail terms for violators. Yet that it is the essence of the "Faustian bargain" (to borrow an expression from former CIA director James Woolsey) that they apparently struck in the 1990s: al-Qaeda could strike globally and the Saudis would pay them to leave the royal family alone. could be used to block terrorist financing. The hudna had already collapsed. The Saudis have faced domestic terrorism before. Treasury Secretary John W. 2003.S.'" In short. like Hamas or the Taliban. 2003. This is especially true 20 | P a g e . domestic threats in the mid-1990s did not cause the Saudis to halt their assistance to jihadi groups abroad. 2003. Adel al-Jubeir announced with great fanfare that Saudi Arabia had fired several hundred clerics and suspended more than a thousand for preaching intolerance.S. yet there was little evidence to indicate that this was any more than an attempt to acknowledge Saudi intentions in the absence of any tangible results. Yet within weeks. the infidels. all dimensions of the supposed Saudi war on terrorism look incomplete. a distance of nearly six miles. in theory. Saudi counter-terrorist initiatives proved to be mostly empty rhetoric. Hamas was able to launch one of its new extended-range Qassam rockets. the Saudi governmental message to the mosques has not been sufficiently clear: U. But it was too early to determine whether the law would be enforced or would just remain on the books. Saudi Arabia's National Guard headquarters was struck by pro-bin Laden forces. At a June 12. the modus operandi adopted in the Hamas case is probably applicable to other parts of the global terrorist network as well. at best. past Saudi commitments to take effective measures against terrorist financing or incitement to violence have been half-hearted. Saudi spokesmen frequently ask how they could support an organization that intended to harm them. U. In the past. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Robert Jordan noted: "We have noticed lately in influential mosques the imam has condemned terrorism and preached in favor of tolerance. While most of the evidence presented here comes from the specific case of Hamas. news conference.escalate its militant actions. By August 28. which. Riyadh appears able to draw a distinction between acts of domestic subversion and international terrorist activities. Yet. the Saudi government adopted its first money-laundering law. Snow praise the Saudi decision to clamp down on terrorist financing during a visit to Jiddah on September 17. which are seen as part of the global jihad. It is instructive to recall that in 1995. striking the outskirts of Ashkelon. the Saudi deputy minister for Islamic affairs flatly denied that the move against the clerics had anything to do with curbing extremism. 2003. On August 18. There was one exception to these disturbing trends. Whatever the reason why the clerics were disciplined. and all who support them. Very simply. developed during the hudna. please destroy the Jews. then closed the sermon with 'O God.
Currently. as well as the question of whether the Middle East moves in the direction of hope and peace or relapses into a state of continuing strife. goes solely to the Palestinian Authority. this was established pursuant to the Israeli-Palestinian agreement of September 13. they have spent huge sums of money for public relations firms and influence-brokers. and many Saudis identify strongly with the Palestinian people and view support for Palestinian causes as a religious. 1993. cultural. like other Arab states. Funding for Palestinian Organizations Support for Palestinian causes and the provision of humanitarian aid to Palestinians has long been an important component of Saudi foreign policy. After September 11. recognizes the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and provides some financial support to Palestinian institutions sponsored by the PLO. what is at stake is nothing less than the security of the United States and its allies. But the time has come to tell the Saudis that they have to make a choice. Saudi officials say that government support to Palestinian causes. The West needs to come to an understanding with the Islamic world based on mutual respect and tolerance. For that reason. known as the first Oslo Accord. It has recently taken disciplinary action against some of its most extreme religious leaders. political obligation. Saudi Arabia. although public reporting has not conclusively linked official Saudi government support to Palestinian terrorist organizations. A 2002 Saudi government report stated that overall government and private aid to the Palestinians had reached $2. While Saudi spokesmen have provided repeated assurances that they have cleaned up these activities. that is the heart of the Saudi-Wahhabi covenant that dates back to the eighteenth century. 21 | P a g e . their denials with respect to terrorist funding do not stand up against the documented evidence that has accumulated in the last two years.61 billion. or. The Saudi government faces hard dilemmas. there has to be zero tolerance for terrorist funding and other forms of terrorist support. in some cases. But traditionally.of the critical role of Saudi Arabia's global charities in sustaining many similar militant organizations from Indonesia to central Russia. Yet the Saudis also need the ultimate protective shield provided by the United States. approximately $80 million to $100 million per year. In order to sustain this. The stakes involved are not just a question of public relations or Arab-Israel pointscoring in Washington. Repeated allegations made by Israeli and Western sources have contended that Saudi support for Palestinian institutions and individuals has directly or indirectly supported Palestinian terrorist groups. The radicalization of the Middle East being promoted by the Saudis undermines that goal and threatens to substitute instead a vision of perpetual militancy and conflict. the Saudis need the backing of their clerics to legitimize their regime.
2000. blankets. The Popular Committee’s periodic public reports indicate that it provided approximately $8.123. In June 2004. Relief Coordination. donations to charitable organizations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. the Saudi government announced that the future activities of all Saudi charitable committees and organizations that send aid abroad (including “the Palestinian committees”) will be monitored and directed by the Saudi Nongovernmental National Commission for Relief and Charity Work Abroad.302. education. in addition to the costs of then-current projects. Prince Salman bin Abd Al Aziz.433 SR [$54.Officially Sanctioned Relief Efforts Saudi Committees.699. The Saudi Committee for the Support of the Al Quds Intifada has served as the main conduit for Saudi financial and material aid to the Palestinian territories since its establishment under Royal Decree 8636 on October 16. Within Saudi Arabia. the Al Quds Intifada Committee organized a telethon sponsored by King Fahd in April 2002 that raised over $110 million for families of Palestinians killed or injured in the uprising. Saudi officials 22 | P a g e . The report also stated that “the value of the services provided by the Committee to the Palestinian people” through December 2003 was equal to an additional 727. Prince Nayef has directed the Committee’s operations since its establishment. Since 2000. the governor of Riyadh Province.075]. In addition to financial assistance.716 SR [$194. and other aid in kind through programs aimed at supporting health care. established the Popular Committee and has directed its operations. Palestinian officials have reportedly praised the Committee’s support for the Palestinian people. and by means of direct assistance to over 35. two official charitable committees have solicited and delivered aid to Palestinian institutions. individuals. The Committee has also constructed hundreds of homes for Palestinians that have been left homeless due to the ongoing violence. The Al Quds Intifada Committee’s periodic public reports describe millions of riyals in monetary aid that its programs have provided to the Palestinian people in the form of financial transfers to the Palestinian Authority (PA).8 million to the PLO from October 2000 to April 2003. ambulances.249].000 needy Palestinian individuals.265.283 Saudi riyals (SR) [$139. both Committees have issued public solicitations encouraging Saudi citizens to make donations to support the welfare of the Palestinian people. and causes since the onset of the second Palestinian intifada in October 2000: the Saudi Popular Committee for Assisting the Palestinian Mujahideen and the Saudi Committee for the Support of the Al Quds Intifada.924]. In one often cited instance. 2003 report issued by the Saudi Embassy in Washington stated that the costs of the Al Quds Intifada Committee’s 31 relief programs amounted to 524. According to Saudi press reports. A December 31.804.964. which amounted to a further 203. As of December 2004 it was unclear if this National Commission was operational or if either of the two Committees described above continued to operate. medicine. the Al Quds Intifada Committee also has provided food. and the provision of basic social services in the Palestinian territories that have been disrupted during the current uprising.
blankets. the families of martyrs. Material aid collected by the Committee. the Committee. Delivery Mechanisms. the Al Quds Intifada Committee prepared lists of potential beneficiaries drawn from the ranks of “the wounded. correct. a team in the Palestinian territories followed up “on the process of delivering aid directly to the beneficiaries” and filed “regular reports to the Saudi Committee in Support of the Al Quds Intifada. such as food. For example. and vehicles. Saudi press reports indicate that the Al Quds Intifada Committee consolidated the proceeds of its fund-raising efforts along with public and private donations in support of Palestinian causes in national. a “central committee” conducted a “general study” of the lists and verified “the names of the beneficiaries. in coordination with “the National Arab Bank.” opened a bank account in the beneficiary’s name.666] for every prisoner. their telephone numbers.” 23 | P a g e . government-sponsored unified accounts established in a number of Saudi banks. “the committee allocated 20.told their U. According to Saudi press reports. the Committee would “coordinate with the Palestinian Authority and the [Palestinian] ambassador on the information in [the lists]” to confirm that it was “precise.” According to Al Harithi.” After the deposit had been made. and clear. or if either still exists.” Once the information had been confirmed and approved. if one superseded the other. In an April 2002 interview Dr. “Unified Account Number 98" and “Unified Account Number 90" are referred to in Saudi press reports describing the Al Quds Intifada Committee’s activities. clothing.000 Saudi riyals [$2. The Committee also developed a special process to transfer financial aid to Palestinian individuals in cooperation with Jordan’s Arab Bank PLC. although it is unclear if both accounts existed simultaneously. the “chairman of the Executive Committee in Support of the Al Aqsa Intifada” and an advisor to Prince Nayef. and the date and type of Injury.S. Once collected. addresses. was delivered in cooperation with third parties such as the Jordanian Red Crescent Society and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Unified Accounts. The word “martyr” is used to refer to those killed as a result of violence (usually Israeli actions). the proceeds of the Al Quds Intifada Committee’s fundraising efforts were delivered to Palestinian beneficiaries in a variety of ways. counterparts that the proceeds of this telethon were funneled through non-governmental organizations to provide humanitarian support to needy Palestinian families. Saudi citizens were encouraged to make donations to these accounts at their local banks. if they are synonymous. into which a standard amount of riyals or dollars were transferred based on the individual’s circumstances and the criteria set by the Committee for each of its different programs. social conditions.333] for the family of each martyr.”and “the sum of 10. Then. Sa’id Al Urabi Al Harithi. and the families of prisoners and disabled persons and families that had been affected by the uprising.000 riyals [$5. provided details about the process used to identify beneficiaries and deliver financial aid to them: Using information provided by “welfare societies” and “official sources” in the Palestinian territories.
over 60 match or closely resemble the names of known Palestinian militants who carried out attacks on Israeli military personnel and civilians from October 2000 to March 2002. Records for this program contain the names of deceased individuals.000 SR [$5.” Saudi officials also questioned the claim that Palestinian suicide attacks were financially rather than politically motivated. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility.Allegations of Support for Palestinian Terrorists Allegations of Support for the Families of Suicide Attackers.identified as suicide bomber in August 9. Of the 1.300 names contained in the records for this specific Committee program.identified as suicide bomber in March 2. 2002 attack on Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem.” contains over 40. their home towns. Hamas claimed responsibility.female. 2001 attack on Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem. The website states that “many accounts were opened for the harmed persons at the Arab Bank branches in the Palestinian territory. attack on Haifa bus. The Committee’s description of the program indicates that payments of 20. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility. currently maintained in the name of “the Saudi Committee for Relief of the Palestinian People.” The report argued that this alleged financial support encouraged Palestinian terrorism by easing the potential burden on the families of attackers.identified as suicide bomber in December 2. attack on Dolphinarium nightclub in Tel Aviv.” One of the Committee’s programs supported Palestinian families whose primary breadwinners were killed by Israeli forces or under other violent circumstances during the uprising. Maher Muhiaddin Kamel Habeishi .identified as suicide bomber in June 1. identified as suicide bomber in January 27. Izzedin Shahil Ahmed Masri . Saudi Committee Website.e. transaction numbers. The following is a sample of five names of beneficiaries featured on the Committee website which matches those of individuals associated with attacks: Said Hassan Hussein Hotari . Wa’fa Ali Khalil Idris . and fixed aids [i. The Al Quds Intifada Committee website. and the date of their deaths. Hamas claimed responsibility. 2001. and the circumstances in which they were killed. these individuals include suicide bombers and gunmen who were killed during actual and attempted attacks inside Israel and the Palestinian territories. 2002 street attack in Jerusalem. Statements made by Committee figures in response to specific claims that the Al Quds Intifada Committee provided support to the families of suicide bombers or otherwise supported terrorism have been less consistent. but has categorically ruled out the existence of any quid pro quo arrangement or reward system similar to that sponsored by former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Mohammed Ahmed Abdel-Rahman Daraghmeh . Saudi government spokesman Adel Al Jubeir has discussed the possibility that money from the Committee may have gone to the families of suicide bombers.” and stated “unequivocally that Saudi Arabia does not provide financial support to suicide bombers or their families. including notorious terrorists. Hamas claimed responsibility. Israeli officials released a report that alleged that the Saudi Committee for the Support of the Al Quds Intifada had “transferred large sums of money to families of Palestinians who died in violent events. Saudi officials called the allegations “baseless and false. In May 2002. Most of the Committee records assigned to individuals whose names match or 24 | P a g e .300] were transmitted to the family members of these individuals in their names following their death.000 transaction records that feature the names individuals who received humanitarian aid and financial support from the Committee. donations] were transferred to the harmed people in their respective accounts. 2001.
and Israeli intelligence officials have indicated that Saudi funding for Hamas has been curtailed and replaced by other regional sponsors. which the U.” Aufhauser indicated that Saudi financial support “has been supplemented by money from Iran and Syria flowing through even more dangerous rejectionist groups in the West Bank. hospitals. 2004 edition of the Israeli daily Maariv quoted an unidentified Israeli military official as saying that “for the first time in years the Saudis have begun to reduce the flow of funds to Hamas and to the Gaza Strip. Saudi spokesman Adel Al Jubeir rejoins that “no Saudi government money goes to Hamas. the money going to Hamas from Saudi Arabia has substantially dried up. a report in the June 23.” Many wealthy Saudis contribute approximately 2.S.” Al Jubeir has been quoted as saying that he considers it “very likely” that “some Saudi individuals” have provided financial support to Hamas. individuals in Saudi Arabia have contributed approximately $5 million to Hamas each year. reports citing unidentified U. The Saudi government has not officially described Hamas as a terrorist organization. Charitable Giving and Madrasas Charitable giving (zakat) is a religious obligation for Muslims. or approximately half of its annual operating budget.S.5 percent of their annual income to charitable causes and relief organizations that fund religious education programs. To what extent these donations have stemmed from the Saudi government or from private individuals is unknown. in general. Recently. but some estimates suggest that $100 million has been donated over the last decade. Saudi official’s estimate that $100 million in charitable donations are directed abroad each year. to be about $3 billion to $4 billion annually.closely resemble those of suicide attacker’s list “assassination” as the cause of death — however other records credit “martyrdom.” This unidentified source attributes this change largely to U. In its annual report on terrorism for the year 2001 (Patterns of Global Terrorism. One expert estimates Saudi charitable donations. orphanages. and other development projects both within Saudi Arabia and around the world.” Support to Hamas. constituting one of the five “pillars of Islam.” Similarly. According to one report. former Treasury Department General Counsel David Aufhauser quoted “informed intelligence sources” as saying that “for whatever reason. It is unclear how much money is channeled from Saudi Arabian donations towards charitable endeavors in the United States. of which 10-20% is disseminated abroad. pressure on Saudi Arabia to stem the flow of funding to Hamas and other terrorist organizations. the State Department noted that Hamas receives funding from “private benefactors in Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab states. government has designated as a foreign terrorist organization.” The 2002 and most recent 2003 editions of the report do not mention Saudi Arabia as a specific source of funding for Hamas. 25 | P a g e . directly or indirectly. there have been unsubstantiated reports of Saudi public and private assistance to the fundamentalist Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). In June 2004 testimony before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. Since the early 1990s.S.” A handful of these records indicate that the individuals they refer to were killed during a “martyrdom operation. 2001). Other reports have estimated varying amounts of aid to Hamas from private donations.
Security Council Resolution 1267) to add the branches to the Committee’s consolidated list of terrorists tied to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. however. At that time. such as the Muslim World League (MWL).” Since March 2002. U. authorities also designated Al Haramain’s founder and director. The extent to which these government steps will be effective remains to be seen. Saudi charities with overseas operations will either be dissolved or have their assets consolidated under the control of the new Commission. which actively raise funds among the Saudi population. the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO). Action Against Questionable Charity The Saudi government recently dissolved the Al Haramain Islamic Foundation. In early January 2004.Saudi actions relating to its alleged involvement in terrorist financing. and described as “the sole vehicle” through which all private Saudi donations marked for international distribution will flow in the future. or the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY).N. Al Aqil had stepped down from his position and remains in Saudi Arabia. In February 2004. In May 2003.S. investigators have linked a former Al Haramain employee to the 1998 U. a large charity with links to the royal family.N. the government announced the creation of the High Commission for Oversight of Charities to provide assistance to Saudi Arabian charities in reforming their operations and improving their transparency. until further regulations could be instituted to ensure that the money would not be channeled to terrorist organizations. the results of those audits have not been made publicly available. Aqeel Abdulaziz Al Aqil. King Fahd issued a royal decree establishing the Saudi Nongovernmental Commission on Relief and Charity Work Abroad. Al Aqil’s successor. U.S. after years of sustained criticism and a series of joint U. 2004 Treasury Department statement called Al Haramain “one of the principal Islamic NGOs providing supports for the Al Qaida [variant transcription of Arabic word] network and promoting militant Islamic doctrine worldwide. 2004 because of “the freezing of the establishment’s internal accounts and the inability to give charitable support. Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee (which monitors sanctions pursuant to U. Saudi officials also indicated that all Saudi charities had been audited. 26 | P a g e . The two countries have asked the U. The new banking regulations do not place similar restrictions on the operations of “multilateral” charitable organizations based in Saudi Arabia. as a supporter of terrorism in June 2004.S. and a June 2. Once the Commission is operational. In December 2002.” Saudi officials indicate that Al Haramain’s international operations will be absorbed by the new Nongovernmental Commission for Relief and Charity Work Abroad. embassy bombing in Tanzania.Charity Oversight In response to criticism and allegations of involvement in terrorist financing directed at Saudi Arabian charitable organizations. the United States and Saudi Arabia have jointly designated 11 overseas branches of Al Haramain as front organizations for terrorist activities. The Commission was publicly reintroduced in June 2004. the Saudi government has taken a series of steps to provide greater oversight to charitable giving in the Kingdom.S. the Saudi government introduced new banking regulations that prohibited private charities and relief groups from transmitting funds overseas. resigned as director of the organization on July 14. Dabbas Al Dabbasi.
In November 2003.” The State Department’s most recent issue of Patterns of Global Terrorism states that the May and November 2003 attacks 27 | P a g e . however for the most part these schools provide a religiously-based education. the Saudi government seems to have become increasingly convinced of the seriousness of the terrorist threat and its attendant financing. Uzbekistan. U. and board to their students. Many commentators attribute this increased Saudi concern to terrorist bombings of compounds in the Saudi capital of Riyadh in May and November 2003. then-Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet stated that “since the May 12th bombings. focusing on the Quran and other Islamic texts. implemented regulations and resolutions. concern has been expressed over the spread of radical Islam through Saudi-funded schools. room. the Saudi Government announced that it would implement U. which they say is aimed as much at the Saudi regime as it is at the United States. Madrasas offer a free education. At a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on February 24. and mosques. there are no published reports on the aggregate amount of funding which has been donated from inside Saudi Arabia to specifically support the building of madrasas worldwide. Saudi Counter-Terrorism Efforts Post-September 11 Actions Saudi officials maintain that they are working closely with the United States to combat terrorism. an Islamic movement that encourages a return to the pure and orthodox practice of the “fundamentals” of Islam.S. a Saudi Embassy spokesman indicated in a press release that “we do not fund the so-called radical madrassas [variant transcription of Arabic word] that people accuse us of funding.” To date. addresses various steps including adopted legislation. both linked by U. which called for freezing terrorist-related funds. usually to students at the primary or secondary school age. A month after the September 11 attacks. as threatening the existence of more moderate beliefs and practices in other parts of the Muslim world. Bosnia-Herzegovina.Saudi Support to Religious Schools (Madrasas) Madrasas are religious schools that have historically existed throughout the Muslim world. which exist in many countries including Bangladesh. The most recent update. officials. and even in the United States. and cooperation with the United States. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency has issued a number of “white papers” detailing actions taken by Saudi Arabia to combat terrorist financing. and thus they appeal to impoverished families and individuals. Indonesia. Two more attacks in the spring of 2004 in which most victims were non-U. issued in April 2004. Spain.N. the Saudi government has shown important commitments to fighting Al Qaida in the kingdom and Saudi officers have paid with their lives. Since mid-2003. Their curriculum varies regionally and culturally.S. while acknowledging Saudi efforts.S. Some view the teaching of Saudi Wahhabism. Security Council Resolution1373. 2004. On the whole. Pakistan. have expressed frustration with Saudi reluctance to share information gleaned from Saudi investigations of terrorist incidents and to move against organizations and individuals suspected of involvement in terrorism. however. In the past. these religious schools are supported by private donations from Muslim believers through zakat. support the theory that the continuing attacks are aimed primarily at destabilizing Saudi Arabia. universities. and Saudi officials to Al Qaeda. On a global front. because that goes against our policy.
and so on. computer records. This set the stage for a more permanent bilateral group with a broader mission. Among other capabilities.S. A ban on cash collections at mosques and on transfers 28 | P a g e . states that Saudi Arabia’s legal and regulatory system is “compliant or largely compliant with most of the FATF 40+8 Recommendations” on terrorist financing. it is apparently able to receive real time information on potential leads in the United States and then request Saudi assistance to pursue them in Saudi Arabia. The financing side shares information related to terrorist funding.Saudi intelligence task force was set up to help identify the perpetrators. the State Department. information on accounts.S.-Saudi task force apparently has two components: one focused mainly on intelligence and the other on financing.” Other Recent Measures. Saudi Arabia has established a Permanent Committee on Combating the Financing of Terrorism to coordinate its policy response and the Saudi Anti-Financial Crime Unit (SAFCU) to serve as a clearinghouse for investigative information and international cooperation. and statements by knowledgeable observers including a former Department of the Treasury official have listed various recent measures taken by Saudi Arabia to put a stop to terrorist financing. including sharing financial leads. law enforcement officials have been stationed in Saudi Arabia to pursue intelligence and financing issues. The FATF-GCC Assessment. members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) visited Saudi Arabia to examine Saudi financial practices. requests for bank records. The overall task force is composed of small groups of FBI agents. a delegation of senior U. During the first week in August 2003.S. officials traveled to Riyadh later that month to set up a joint task force to investigate terrorist financing in Saudi Arabia. and include: A law adopted in August 2003 making money laundering and terrorist financing criminal offenses. The FATF 2004 annual report. 2004.S. and the Federal Bureau of Investigation met with Saudi leaders reportedly to urge them to do more to cut off the funneling of money to terrorists through Saudi businesses and organizations. released on July 2. FBI employees. Subsequently. the State Department’s Patterns of Global Terrorism: 2003. Most of these measures have been designed to improve oversight of charitable collections. Many observers see this joint effort as a test of how responsive Saudi Arabia may prove to be in dealing with the issue of terrorism and blocking the flow of money from its citizens to terrorist organizations.S. and other financial data. The intelligence side shares intelligence information related to threats to the United States. this is the first time that U. The SAFCU was not operational at the time of the FATF review. counter-terrorism officials from the National Security Council. IRS agents and intelligence agents. The FATF report concludes that the Saudi government’s legal definition of terrorist financing “does not conform to the international standards as expressed in the UN International Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Financing.. Press reports. a joint U. Shortly after the May 2003 attacks in Riyadh. According to the report.” Joint Task Force. In September 2003. analysts. especially general criminal terrorism leads. agents from U. U. The U. organizations including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service joined Saudi officials to set up a center that will focus on bank accounts.“galvanized Riyadh into launching a sustained crackdown against Al Qa’ida’s presence in the Kingdom and spurred an unprecedented level of cooperation with the United States.S. According to press articles. the Treasury Department.
the Saudis have killed several known operatives.” Announcement in early December 2003 of a rewards program. Some observers believe that more and better U. A FATF official involved in the recent assessment of Saudi practices was quoted as saying that the new regulations to control Saudi-based charities “probably go further than any country in the world.k.000 to $1.S.S. the effectiveness of many of these steps will depend on their implementation. Department of the Treasury. however. except with Foreign Ministry approval and subject to stringent reporting requirements. both issued their own separate indictments. and financiers for Al Qaeda. There have also been specific developments in bilateral U. and establishment of a financial intelligence unit (the SAFCU) to collect and share information on suspicious financial transactions.abroad of charitable funds collected in Saudi Arabia. financial facilitators. Membership in the regional body commits Saudi Arabia to implementing the internationally recognized anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing standards designed by FATF. The Khobar Towers Bombing.S. including Yousif Salih Fahad Al Ayeeri (a. Continuing Uncertainties and Questions Saudi Arabia has undertaken significant administrative reforms in its efforts to curtail terrorist financing. Although the Saudi Hezbollah group and the Iranian government are suspected of involvement.” As noted above.000 clerics in 2003 and 900 clerics so far in 2004 supposedly “on the grounds of negligence. Announcement in late November 2004 that Saudi Arabia will participate in the newly established Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF).S. “Swift Sword”) and Khaled Ali Al Hajj.C. ranging from $270.87 million. known as hawalas. access to Saudi files on this case might reveal money trails that could shed further light on the intricacies of terrorist funding and collaboration. According to the U. A third session was scheduled for Riyadh in May 2004. recent reports indicate that Al Qaeda may also have played a role in the attack.S. Closure of unlicensed money exchange houses and closer supervision of informal money transfer houses used to send funds abroad.a. Several uncertainties and unresolved questions remain. the FBI and the Internal Revenue ServiceCriminal Investigative Division began a program of terrorism financing training for the Saudi government and has had sessions in Riyadh and Washington.-Saudi cooperation in criminal investigations and procedures: In September 2003. 29 | P a g e . A requirement for charitable organizations to have single disbursement bank accounts and an approved official with signatory authority to facilitate tighter controls over such accounts. The government suspended more than 1. The bombing of a U. D. Vetting of religious clerics and supervision of money given to them by their congregations. Air Force billeting facility in June 1996 has never been resolved. for information leading to the arrest of suspects or disruption of terrorist attacks. New rules governing the insurance sector and capital markets. The reluctance of Saudi investigative officials to share evidence with their U. reportedly key financial facilitators for Al Qaeda in the Persian Gulf region. counterparts was a long-standing source of friction between the two governments.
officials have complained in the past that Saudi officials have been slow to take action against organizations and entities implicate in terrorist financing.Dilatory Action. Saudi law permits the undeclared transport of currency across its borders for all amounts under 100. “the Saudi government turned a blind eye to the financing of al Qaeda” before September 11. The possibility remains that private donor in Saudi Arabia may circumvent Saudi regulatory controls. adopted by the U.S. The State Department notes that Hamas receives funds from benefactors in various locations including the Persian Gulf. According to the 9/11Commission Monograph on Terrorist Financing.” The report recognized the “significantly higher levels of cooperation” that U. Securing timely cooperation remains an important component of U. Although Saudi Arabia’s customer information requirements are more stringent for international transfers under recently adopted regulations. Currency Controls. Saudi leaders have said that Saudi government contributions to Palestinian causes go exclusively to the Palestinian Authority and not to Hamas. officials have received from their Saudi counterparts since May 2003. Accountability.000 Saudi riyals ($26. Saudi Arabia.” The 2004 FATF review found that Saudi Arabia has initiated five criminal cases involving terrorist financing activities. General Assembly in December 1999. U. The FATF review notes that Saudi Arabia has not ratified the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.666). U. officials have also said that the Saudi Government should give more emphasis to personal responsibility in reporting and act against those who tolerate or promote financing of terrorist activity.” Issues for Congress Several Committees and Members have expressed interest in these issues and have held hearings and introduced legislation relating to U. or other jurisdictions. The FATF report urges Saudi Arabia to do so “as soon as possible. some loopholes may remain. The FATF report calls on Saudi officials to increase the amount of information required for foreign currency conversion transactions at money remittance centers in the Kingdom. These individuals are believed to be in Saudi Arabia. “the Saudis have failed to impose criminal punishment on any high-profile donor. International Efforts. and “the Saudis did not begin to crack down hard on Al Qaeda financing in the Kingdom until after the May 2003 Al Qaeda attacks in Riyadh. 2001.S. although it does not specifically mention Saudi Arabia. with one successful conviction. authorities of involvement in terrorist financing have not been charged or prosecuted in the United States. Palestinian Funding.S.S.S. Several prominent Saudi individuals suspected by U.-Saudi cooperation in the fight against 30 | P a g e .S.N. efforts to curb the flow of funds to terrorist groups. According to a monograph released by the 9/11 Commission.
” Companion bills entitled the Saudi Arabia Accountability Act. They point out. that the effectiveness of these measures will be tested by the degree to which Saudi authorities succeed in implementing the various institutions and regulations that have been established in recent years. 2845. Section 575 provides the President with waiver authority for the aid prohibition provided that he certifies that “Saudi Arabia is cooperating with efforts to combat international terrorism and that the proposed assistance will help facilitate that effort. Conclusion It seems clear that growing challenges to internal security and an increase in terrorist incidents in Saudi Arabia have impelled the Saudi leadership to devote heightened attention to countering sources of financing terrorism.R. introduced in the House and Senate on November 21 (H. Members of Congress introduced several bills to implement recommendations of the Commission with regard to the organization of the intelligence community and other foreign policy mechanisms. 1888).terrorism and terrorist financing. Both U. 2003 (S. when terrorists began mounting a series of attacks on residential and office compounds. apparently in an effort to target the Saudi government as well as the western presence in Saudi Arabia. officials and independent observers have welcomed the mechanisms that Saudi authorities have put in place with the aim of stemming the flow of funds destined for terrorist groups. aid under the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program.S. for example. Following the release of the final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission). unless the President certifies that Saudi Arabia is fully cooperating with the United States in investigating and preventing terrorist attacks and taking other specified counter-terrorist measures. Section 575 of the FY2005 Omnibus Appropriations Bill prohibits Saudi Arabia from receiving aid or any direct assistance from the United States.S. would require the President to submit to designated congressional committees a strategy for collaboration with the people and government of Saudi Arabia including a framework for security cooperation [Section 4081(b)]. The 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act (S. This strategy would include special reference to efforts to combat terrorist financing. 3643) and November 18. Saudi Arabia has been receiving $25.000 in annual U. would require the President to prohibit export of arms or dual use items to Saudi Arabia and to restrict the travel of Saudi diplomats in the United States. however. as amended by the House). This has been particularly true since mid-2003. respectively. 31 | P a g e .
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