Saturday, March 15, 2014

Saudi Arabia, Syria, Ghazwa-e-Hind and India.

IT’S the season for our worst fears to bloom. As extremist discourse becomes more mainstream, it’s worth considering what price our future bailouts might come at. For a useful illustration, consider the recent visit to Pakistan by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, a country that has played a pivotal role in bailing Pakistan out after the nuclear detonations of May 1998, and bankrolled some amount of cash assistance in the wake of the Kashmir earthquake and the floods. But the communiqué issued after the last visit makes for puzzling reading, to say the least. There was fleeting mention of Palestine, which took up two whole paragraphs in the communiqué issued the last time a top Saudi royal visited a Pakistani head of state. This time we have two paragraphs on Syria, in which Pakistan has clearly been persuaded to take sides in that conflict, and commit itself to the shape of a post-Bashar al-Assad political order. “When contacted, a senior government official insisted that there was no change in Pakistan’s Syria policy. Sources, however, said that in return for supporting Saudi Arabia on Syria, Pakistan is expected to get defence contracts and other economic favours from the oil-rich kingdom,” said a report in a national daily — exactly the sort of language that you expect to see when your government is hiding something from you. A quid pro quo appears to have been worked out. It doesn’t take a close scrutiny of the text of the communiqué to get the point. The season of toppling governments is drawing near, and everybody has their hit list. Our establishment has its eyes on the government that Americans will be leaving behind in Afghanistan, and the Saudis have their eyes on the government of Bashar al-Assad. For Afghanistan, the statement speaks of “support for Afghan reconciliation” as well as the political process and the forthcoming elections. ‘Let Afghanistan be,’ the Saudis seem to be saying, ‘Let’s go get Bashar.’ REFERENCE: Welcome to Jihad Inc. KHURRAM HUSAIN 2014-02-20

 Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Visits India To Boost Bilateral Defence Tie Ups

Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Visits India To Boost... by SalimJanMazari

March 2014 The visit by Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has imparted fresh momentum to ties between India and Saudi Arabia. The high-profile visit of the Saudi royal, who is also the Kingdom’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, has built on the foundations of two earlier game-changing outings — the visit by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz in 2006, which was followed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s trip to Riyadh four years later. Dr. Singh’s 2010 visit resulted in the signing of the Riyadh Declaration, which proclaimed that a “strategic partnership” between New Delhi and Riyadh had been established, spanning diverse fields including energy security, information technology and outer space. The document did not exclude a security element either, signalling that a standalone relationship between India and Saudi Arabia had been anchored, de-hyphenated from Riyadh’s long-standing ties with Islamabad. The signing of a defence pact during the Crown Prince’s visit implies that the focus imparted to military ties, during Defence Minister A.K. Antony’s visit to Saudi Arabia in 2012, has been emphatically retained. An acknowledgement that a new thrust on promoting investments is required augurs well for the evolution of a substantial, multifaceted relationship. Despite their promise, India-Saudi ties will have to be carefully nurtured. On the bilateral side, the welfare of millions of Indian workers in the Kingdom has to be ensured, especially at a time when authorities in Riyadh have embarked on a major undertaking to generate maximum employment for their own nationals, shrinking job opportunities for expatriates. The future of ties between New Delhi and Riyadh would also have to be insulated from the differing perceptions of the two countries of developments in West Asia. Besides, India has to stay clear of the crossfire between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which are at loggerheads on account of the situation in Syria, and whose hostility towards each other has acquired a dangerous sectarian dimension in the region. While it bonds with Riyadh, India has an abiding interest in the simultaneous development of its relationship with Iran, which not only is a major energy-supplier but — after the American withdrawal later this year — is bound to play a pivotal role in Afghanistan. Simultaneously, India has no basis to grudge Saudi Arabia’s “all weather” ties with Pakistan, so long as they do not harm New Delhi’s core interests. In fact, distancing itself from zero-sum expectations, India, if invited, can turn its proximity with Riyadh and Tehran to its advantage, by making its contribution in defusing tensions between the two regional heavyweights. REFERENCE : India-Saudi Arabia ties get a boost EDITORIAL March 2, 2014 Updated: March 3, 2014 00:38 IST After defence MoU, Saudi Arabia and India eye diverse areas for tie-ups NEW DELHI, March 1, 2014 India, Saudi Arabia sign extradition treaty RIYADH, March 1, 2010

India Wants Saudi Arabia to Pressure Pakistan on Anti-India Terrorism

India Wants Saudi Arabia to Pressure Pakistan... by SalimJanMazari

Saudi Arabia is the world's largest source of funds for Islamist militant groups such as the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba – but the Saudi government is reluctant to stem the flow of money, according to Hillary Clinton. "More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups," says a secret December 2009 paper signed by the US secretary of state. Her memo urged US diplomats to redouble their efforts to stop Gulf money reaching extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan. "Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide," she said. Three other Arab countries are listed as sources of militant money: Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Reference: WikiLeaks cables portray Saudi Arabia as a cash machine for terrorists Hillary Clinton memo highlights Gulf states' failure to block funding for groups like al-Qaida, Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba by Declan Walsh in Islamabad The Guardian, Sunday 5 December 2010 15.30 GMT

Roots and Trends of Saudi Terrorism Financing by Jean-Charles Brisard (For UNO)

“You go to Friday prayers. You could stand there and say, “Please Help”. And people will give you checks, money, et cetera”. Prince Bandar, Ambassador to the US, PBS Frontline, September 2001 

 “If beneficiaries had used assistance for evil acts, that is not our responsibility at all”. Prince Salman, Governor of the Riyadh Province, November 2002

WikiLeaks Saudi King urged US to attack Iran (Reuters)

WikiLeaks Saudi King urged US to attack Iran... by SalimJanMazari

Saudi Arabia urges US attack on Iran to stop nuclear programme • Embassy cables show Arab allies want strike against Tehran • Israel prepared to attack alone to avoid its own 9/11 • Iranian bomb risks 'Middle East proliferation, war or both' Ian Black and Simon Tisdall The Guardian, Sunday 28 November 2010 20.54 GMT

The revelation that Saudi Arabia is the ‘friendly Muslim country’ that deposited $1.5 billion into the Pakistan Development Fund isn’t a surprise. After all, it could hardly have been Yemen or Jordan; they’re not as well-heeled, and nowhere near as friendly. Why the Nawaz Sharif government has been the beneficiary of such largesse is also not a mystery. The connections between Sharif and the Saudis are well-established, from the period in exile, to Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s “our man in Pakistan” boast to the Wikileaks cables, alleging Saudi funding for Nawaz Sharif’s 2008 election campaign. The list goes on, detailing the history between the man who has a political party named after him and the family that has a country named after it. Compare the funding to how much the Saudis gave us during the previous government, you know, the one that made the IP pipeline deal with Iran which never materialised. It wasn't not much, I assure you. --- We have a right to know what that bargain is, but once more, this sale is shrouded in secrecy, and secrecy invites speculation. Some allege that the money is to hold off any operation against the Taliban, pointing to the timing of Saudi visits and the peace talks. Others say it is for Pakistan’s support in Syria, the diplomatic end of which we have already witnessed. Still others claim that that is only part of it and that Pakistan has agreed to provide training, arms and possibly even manpower to Saudi-backed rebels fighting in Syria. REFERENCE: From Saudi, with love ZARRAR KHUHRO 2014-03-14 Prince Alwaleed bin Talal: An Ally Frets About American Retreat Influential Saudi royal Prince Alwaleed bin Talal talks about the U.S. debacle in Syria, the Iranian threat, and 'this perception that America is going down.' By MATTHEW KAMINSKI

WikiLeaks Saudi Arabia and UAE funding Terrorism in Pakistan

WikiLeaks Saudi Arabia and UAE funding... by SalimJanMazari

KARACHI: A US official in a cable sent to the State Department stated that “financial support estimated at nearly 100 million USD annually was making its way to Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith clerics in south Punjab from organisations in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ostensibly with the direct support of those governments.” The cable sent in November 2008 by Bryan Hunt, the then Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Lahore, was based on information from discussions with local government and non-governmental sources during his trips to the cities of Multan and Bahawalpur. Quoting local interlocutors, Hunt attempts to explain how the “sophisticated jihadi recruitment network” operated in a region dominated by the Barelvi sect, which, according to the cable, made south Punjab “traditionally hostile” to Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith schools of thought. Hunt refers to a “network of Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith mosques and madrassahs” being strengthened through an influx of “charity” which originally reached organisations “such as Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Al-Khidmat foundation”. Portions of these funds would then be given away to clerics “in order to expand these sects’ presence” in a relatively inhospitable yet “potentially fruitful recruiting ground”. Outlining the process of recruitment for militancy, the cable describes how “families with multiple children” and “severe financial difficulties” were generally being exploited for recruitment purposes. Families first approached by “ostensibly ‘charitable’” organisations would later be introduced to a “local Deobandi or Ahl-i-Hadith maulana” who would offer to educate the children at his madrassah and “find them employment in the service of Islam”. “Martyrdom” was also “often discussed”, with a final cash payment to the parents. “Local sources claim that the current average rate is approximately Rs 500,000 (approximately USD 6,500) per son,” the cable states. Children recruited would be given age-specific indoctrination and would eventually be trained according to the madrassah teachers’ assessment of their inclination “to engage in violence and acceptance of jihadi culture” versus their value as promoters of Deobandi or Ahl-i-Hadith sects or recruiters, the cable states. Recruits “chosen for jihad” would then be taken to “more sophisticated indoctrination camps”. “Locals identified three centres reportedly used for this purpose”. Two of the centres were stated to be in the Bahawalpur district, whereas one was reported as situated “on the outskirts of Dera Ghazi Khan city”. These centres “were primarily used for indoctrination”, after which “youths were generally sent on to more established training camps in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and then on to jihad either in FATA, NWFP, or as suicide bombers in settled areas”. The cable goes on to quote local officials criticising the PML-N-led provincial and the PPP-led federal governments for their “failure to act” against “extremist madrassas, or known prominent leaders such as Jaish-i-Mohammad’s Masood Azhar”. The Bahawalpur district nazim at the time told Hunt that despite repeatedly highlighting the threat posed by extremist groups and indoctrination centres to the provincial and federal governments, he had received “no support” in dealing with the issue unless he was ready to change his political loyalties. The nazim, who at the time was with the PML-Q, “blamed politics, stating that unless he was willing to switch parties…neither the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz provincial nor the Pakistan People’s Party federal governments would take his requests seriously”. REFERENCE: Saudi Arabia, UAE financing extremism in south Punjab 2011-05-21 20:30:07   Cable referenced: WikiLeaks # 178082 2008: Extremist recruitment on the rise in south Punjab madrassahs 2011-05-21 21:43:26

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