Where Is Saudi Support For Taliban Victims?
By Forbes Magazine | by Rachel Ehrenfeld
Tuesday, May 12th, 2009 @ 4:31AM
A conspicuous lack of aid shows where the Kingdom stands.
Conspicuously, neither Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz nor the rulers of any Arab or Muslim state are holding special national telethons to help raise funds for some 400,000 new Pakistani refugees. Many fled their homes after the Taliban took over the Swat valley, and others were forced to leave amid the fierce fighting between the Taliban and the Pakistani military. The Saudis say they are friends of the West and of all Muslim nations, but their real alliance is with Iran, Hamas and the Taliban–as you can tell just by following the money. Indeed, to get hundreds of millions, and even billions, of dollars in emergency funds from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Gulf States, the Pakistani refugees should have declared themselves Palestinian.
Since January 2009, or in just over four months, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States have given between $1.646 billion and $1.950 billion to the Palestinians, according to figures published on the Web site of Saudi Arabia’s embassy in the U.S. Most of the money, as well as medical aid, food and building materials, went to Hamas-controlled Gaza. These donations were in addition to $1 billion donated on Jan. 19 by King Abdullah “to help rebuild the Gaza Strip.” On May 6, a day after U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates sought Saudi help to fight off the Taliban in Pakistan, the Saudis announced a $25 million donation, not to Pakistan, but to rebuild the Palestinian Nahr Al-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon.
Meanwhile on May 7, at the Arab League’s meeting of foreign ministers in Cairo, Egypt, aid to Pakistan was not on the agenda. Instead, as reported by the Saudi Gazette, the League issued a warning about the imminent danger posed to Jerusalem by the Jews. On May 10, while a new influx of 100,000 Pakistanis escaped the fighting between the military and the Taliban, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary-General Abdul Rahman Al-Attiyah all found the time to meet with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. They promised to send a high-level delegation “to consider the volume of assistance that could be rendered to rehabilitate the [internal] refugees” in war-torn Sri Lanka.
So what about Saudi aid to the suffering Pakistanis? On April 23, the Saudi King gave Pakistan 150 tons of dates, as “humanitarian aid.” Is this an appropriate response from the “custodian” of the two holiest mosques, the second-largest Muslim country in the world and one that is 70% Sunni? The Saudis are pouring money into Gaza, where Iranian-supported, sharia-enforcing Hamas caused death and destruction. At the same time, they are avoiding supporting Pakistan against the Iranian-supported, sharia-enforcing, murderous Taliban. It seems that the Saudis care more about enforcement of the most radical form of sharia as imposed by Hamas and the Taliban, than they do about helping hundreds of thousands of suffering Muslim brothers in Pakistan.
Support to Hamas and the indirect endorsement of the Taliban are a telling sign of important changes in the Muslim world. The Sunni-Wahhabi Saudis and the Shiite radicals ruling Iran seem to have put aside their differences for now. The uniting factor is the opportunity to speed up the creation of the global Islamic nation–the ummah in Arabic. The Taliban, like Hamas, achieved political and territorial gains by brute force. Hamas threw the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority out of the Gaza Strip, and the Taliban took over Pakistan’s Swat valley, through relentless terrorist attacks. Both terrorist groups received tactical and strategic support from Iran and funds from the Saudis. On April 28, former head of Saudi intelligence Prince Turki al-Faisal, who admitted funding the Taliban before 9/11, and who served as ambassador to Washington, was quoted in the Washington Times calling for “the speedy withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan,” saying that they are “not welcome” there.
Pakistan’s decision to cede power over the Swat Valley to the Taliban, and the Obama administration’s decision to talk with Hamas and Iran, only help to bolster these groups’ demands and increase their influence in the Arab and Muslim world. The more concessions the West makes to radical Islam, the stronger it gets and the closer it comes to the Islamic dream–and the rest of the world’s nightmare–of the coming ummah. Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is director of the American Center for Democracy and author of Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It.