Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Saudi's Historic Islamic Terror Connections And Our Engagement

We proposed India should try and enroll Saudi Arabia for quite go-between for India during India- Pakistan negotiations. B. Raman provides a historic context to Saudi's support of Islamic jihad since the 80s.

Like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia has been following a dual policy on terrorism. It has taken ruthless action against Al Qaeda elements posing a threat to its internal security. At the same time, it has avoided taking action against Wahabi organizations which have been supporting terrorism in other countries. Many of the so-called charity organizations, which have been funding terrorist organizations in other countries including India and Bangladesh, are of Saudi origin. Despite international pressure on Saudi Arabia to act against such charity organizations and stop the flow of funds to global jihadi terrorism, the action taken by the Saudi authorities has been unsatisfactory.

While Saudi officially did support jihad extensively for decades, we are not sure they still do, especially after some terrorist groups tried to take over the main mosque in a siege. But there are plenty of Saudis individuals who engage in and fund Islamic terror. And, of course, Saudi funded Wahhabi centers in India, and across the globe, are fountain heads for funding and supporting Islamic terror.

We are still inclined to think Saudi quite involvement would be a non-negative for negotiations and sustained peace between India and Pakistan. Our arguments made earlier still stands. Indian government has to be vigilant if such a path is invoked and not get complacent about Saudi's involvement. But the path is less riddled by pot holes than using US has the current presumed mediator. Engagement with US is a well worn path and we understand how they think and act. With Saudi Arabia, we have to be mindful of the many unintended consequences of this engagement and quite mediation and pull back if things are going bad from our vantage.

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