Saudi's 'war on terror' wins US praise
Washington, October 4, 2009
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) in its latest report has lauded Saudi Arabia for its ongoing efforts to fight domestic and regional terrorism, along with its implementation of strict regulations to curb funds from reaching terrorist groups.
“The GAO’s report is an affirmation of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to combating terrorism and terror financing throughout the globe,” said Saudi Ambassador to the US Adel A. Al-Jubeir.
In the report’s cover letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman and Ranking Member, Howard Berman and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the GAO restates the central partnership the US has with the Kingdom on counterterrorism, adding that Saudi Arabia is also essential to “achieving security in Iraq, advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and ensuring stability in world oil markets.”
The Kingdom was also commended for its programs to combat the spread of extremist ideologies.
The GAO enumerates several areas in which Saudi Arabia has succeeded over the past eight years, detailing multiple initiatives, including the Kingdom’s public awareness program, its extremist rehabilitation program and the repeated public condemnations of terrorism by senior government and religious officials, including Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti.
According to the GAO, the office conducted its analysis because “…the US government considers the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia a vital partner in combating terrorism.”
In its introductory remarks, the GAO reports that the State Department has 'assessed progress related to its goal of building an active US-Saudi antiterrorist coalition as on target.'
It also states that US and Saudi officials report progress in enhancing the Saudi government’s ability to combat terrorists, and note that the Saudi government’s efforts have “disrupted Al-Qaeda’s terrorist network within Saudi Arabia.
“US and Saudi officials also report progress on efforts to prevent financial support to extremists, citing, for example, the Saudi government’s regulations on sending charitable contributions overseas, and the arrest and prosecution of individuals providing support to terrorism.”
“With regard to preventing financial support to extremists, US and Saudi officials also report progress, citing, among other examples, the Saudi government’s implementation of cash courier regulations, ban on the transfer of charitable funds outside the Kingdom without government approval, and arrest and prosecution of individuals providing ideological or financial support to terrorism.”
“Al Qaeda’s attacks against Saudi and US citizens in Saudi Arabia in 2003 and 2004 marked a turning point in the Saudi government’s efforts to combat terrorism and terrorism financing….” and that “…Between 2003 and 2005, the Saudi government reported that it took a number of actions to combat terrorism and terrorism financing within the Kingdom, some with US assistance, such as increasing the size, training, and professionalism of Saudi security forces,” the report added.
The report also commended the Kingdom for its decision to work with the US on designating the Al-Haramain Foundation as a “financier of terrorism” according to UN Security Council Resolution 1267.-TradeArabia News Service