“Saudi Arabia has frustrated American policy makers for years. Ostensibly a critical ally, sheltered from its enemies by American arms and aid, the kingdom has spent untold millions promoting Wahhabism, the radical form of Sunni Islam that inspired the 9/11 hijackers and that now inflames the Islamic State.
The latest chapter in this long, sorrowful history involves tiny Kosovo. With a population of only 1.8 million people, Kosovo has sent more of its young people per capita than any other country to fight and die in Iraq and Syria. Since 2012, some 314 Kosovars have joined the Islamic State, including two suicide bombers, 44 women and 28 children. Even Belgium, widely seen as a hotbed of extremism after the attacks on Paris and Brussels, lags behind it in the recruitment rankings.
As detailed by Carlotta Gall in a recent article in The Times, Kosovo is in this position largely because Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states have spent years developing and funding a network of imams, mosques and secretive associations there. And while there is no evidence that any group gave money directly and explicitly to persuade Kosovars to go to Syria, senior officials in Kosovo told Ms. Gall that extremist clerics and groups have spent heavily to promote radical Islamic thinking among young and vulnerable people. “The issue is they supported thinkers who promote violence and jihad in the name of protecting Islam,” Fatos Makolli, head of Kosovo’s counterterrorism police, told her.”
When we invaded Iraq, it was a huge mistake. Should we have invaded Saudi Arabia?
Here is a popupular comment from the NYT:
“On 911 17 Saudis, led by a Saudi prince, funded by Saudi money and fueled with a religious fervor encouraged by the Saudi government took down the twin towers in NYC. Our response was to invade Iraq. A country run by a secular government with no ties to religious extremism, who’s leader called Osama Bin Laden a dog and where Shiite, Sunni and Kurd lived together in relative peace. Instead of dealing with the underlying religious motivations of a few Saudi crackpots, the U.S., instead, started a war that destabilized the middle east ensuring that the religious crackpots would gain traction by being the last refuge for those with no further allegiance to their destabilized governments. Mission accomplished?”