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Islam - the Saudis' strategic weapon

Reader comment on item: Government for Sale [to the Saudis]

Submitted by Steven Hedley (United Kingdom), Dec 9, 2002 at 10:51

What surprises me is the length of time that the Saudis have been funding extremist Islamic organisations - especially madrassas in Central Asia - without the slightest warning being sounded in Western diplomatic circles. Only through Islam can the Saudis' strategic goals be achieved: it's a weapon in their hands.

The Saudis have enjoyed the complicity of the West in all this, especially the US and Britain. Contrary to some postings on this topic, this isn't about liberalism so much as money. During the last Conservative government in Britain (1979-97), ministers entertained Saudi agents at vast expense to obtain lucrative arms and engineering contracts - and refused to acknowledge the true nature of the Saudi kingdom. (Not even when British nationals were being imprisoned for trivial offences against Saudi religious laws!) There was widespread corruption and one of the ministers involved was later jailed for perjury.

The point is that when a country has such wealth at its disposal, it can buy itself powerful advocates even in Western democracies. In the end, it's not about politics but avarice. I certainly don't want a war - it would set the world back decades - but the greed of our representatives has resulted in a slow-burning conflict that may ignite in about five years' time.
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