SHADMIA'S WORLD

Just Another Guy with Opinions

Saudi Arabia supports Iraqi Sunnis

Posted by shadmia on December 14, 2006

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There is evidence that Saudi Arabia is supporting its Sunni brethren against the majority Shiite sect now controlling Iraq. As mentioned before in a previous article, both Saudi Arabia and Iran have competing interests in Iraq. While the world waits to see how President Bush will react to the Iraq Study Group report, there are indications that if US troops are pulled out of Iraq, Saudi Arabia may find it necessary to protect the minority Sunni population against Shiite domination.

In most Muslim countries the Sunnis are the dominant sect. However in both Iran and Iraq the Shiites are the majority. The continued sectarian violence in Iraq has many Muslim countries worried about the fate of the Iraqi Sunni population. This has led to much speculation about the role Saudi Arabia has been playing in supporting the Sunnis in their struggle against the Shiites.

Officially the Saudis have denied reports that it is supplying or intends to supply any weaponry or financial aid to the Sunnis in Iraq. Nawaf Obaid, a security advisor to the Saudi government was fired over remarks he made in the Washington Post suggesting that Saudi Arabia would back the Sunnis in Iraq if the US troops were to pull out.

Nawaf Obaid made it clear in the article that he was expressing his own views and not that of the Saudi government. The Saudi ambassador to the US, and former Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal said of his dismissal: “We felt that we could add more credibility to his claims as an independent contractor by terminating our consultancy agreement with him.”

Prince Turki al-Faisal also said in an interview that: “it would not be Saudi Arabia’s interests to have a “perpetually disturbed” Iraq on its border.”

“The violence in Iraq today is driven by political ambition, not by sectarian or ethnic reasons,” he added, “and the political ambition used sectarian and ethnicity for their purposes. So that is why I said a political solution from inside Iraq is the only way we can solve this problem, not military, and definitely not one whereby one sect or another can be described as becoming dominant in Iraq.”

However, The Herald Tribune also reports that: “private Saudi citizens are providing millions of dollars in funding to Sunni insurgents in Iraq. Much of the money is used to buy weapons.”

Saudi government officials deny that any money from their country is being sent to Iraq. But the U.S. Iraq Study Group report released Wednesday also cited Saudi individuals as a source of Sunni insurgent funding. Two high-ranking Iraqi officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity, told The Associated Press recently that most of the Saudi money comes from private Islamic donations inside Saudi Arabia, known as zakat. Some Saudis appear aware the money is headed to Iraq but others merely give it to clerics who then send it on, they said.

It also appearsprince-naif.jpg that not only is Saudi money going to Iraq but many Saudi youths have been crossing the border to help in the fight against US and coalition forces. Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif Ibn Abdul Aziz said Iraq had become a threat to the entire region, and that it was the main base for terrorism.

 

The minister also said Saudi youth were being lured to fight in Iraq. US and Iraqi officials have long complained about Saudi extremists crossing into Iraq to join the battle against American and coalition forces. US officials announced last April that Saudis were one of the top five nationalities among foreign fighters captured by coalition forces in Iraq.

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