US, France Must Stop Turning Blind Eye to Saudi Radicalizing Programs

© Flickr / Stephen Downes / View from Kingdom Tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
View from Kingdom Tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. - Sputnik International
Experts claim that Saudi Arabia played a key role in preparing the ground for the terror attacks in Paris by financing enormous radicalization programs targeting Muslims in France and other European countries.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Saudi Arabia played a key role in preparing the ground for the terror attacks in Paris by financing enormous radicalization programs targeting Muslims in France and other European countries, experts told Sputnik.

However, the French government has not dared to confront Saudi Arabia because it needs Saudi oil and the revenue from huge weapons sales to Riyadh, the analysts explained in interviews on Wednesday.

"Much of the extremism in France is funded by French allies in the Gulf," Institute for Gulf Affairs Director Ali al-Ahmed told Sputnik. "Saudi-French trade and arms contracts have led successive governments in Paris to overlook this Saudi role."

Other Gulf monarchies also purchase French weapons in lucrative deals for Paris, giving French authorities the incentive to tacitly tolerate continued funding for outlets that encourage Islamists, he added.

A French fighter jet is seen on the runway at an undisclosed location, in this picture released by the ECPAD November 17, 2015. French warplanes targeted a command post and a recruitment centre for jihadists in the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa in the second consecutive night of strikes ordered by the French president - Sputnik International
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Al-Ahmed also pointed out that at the G-20 summit in Turkey following the Paris attacks, the Saudi king skipped the moment of tribute to the Paris attack victims.

"He intentionally skipped it," al-Ahmed asserted.

The United States, he added, suffers from the same reluctance to expose the Saudi role in fanning the flames of Islamic extremism.

"Almost no major political figure in the United States has spoken out about this," Ahmed pointed out.

During the Democratic presidential debate on Saturday, al-Ahmed continued, frontrunner Hillary Clinton called on Turkey and the Gulf nations to take a stand against jihadi radicalism, but did not mention her own involvement.

"[Clinton] is compromised by money she has accepted from despotic Saudi and Gulf Cooperation Council monarchies," Ahmed stated.

France and the United States needed to reassess their long-running lucrative relationships with Saudi Arabia following the Paris attacks, US author and terrorism financing expert Dan Lazare told Sputnik.

"The most important thing is to re-evaluate… relations with Saudi Arabia, the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide, according to no less an authority than Hillary Clinton, as well as with the Arab Gulf states," he advised.

Lazare recalled that in December 2009, Clinton, then serving as US secretary of state, noted in a confidential diplomatic memo that "donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide."

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party - Sputnik International
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In October 2014, US Vice President Joe Biden told Harvard University students that "'the Saudis [and] the Emirates… poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of military weapons into anyone who would fight against [Syrian

President Bashar] Assad," Lazare remarked.

The funding led to massive direct US aid flowing to the Islamist groups such as the Nusra Front and al-Qaeda, Lazare pointed out.

"Unless France confronts Saudi Arabia, the problem will continue," he warned.

Lazare predicted France would continue to refuse to confront Saudi leaders because Riyadh remained too important as an oil source and as a market for military goods.

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