The US, British and French governments can no longer credibly claim to be serious about fighting terrorism or religious extremism while cozying up to what is a medieval kleptocracy in Riyadh.
The Saudis have long enjoyed diplomatic and political support from successive British governments, based on its largesse as the biggest customer of UK arms sales, which according to the UK-based organization, Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), has been worth £4.1 billion (US$5.3 billion) since 2015. Some of the weapons sold to the Saudis are being used in its on-going war in Yemen, where its forces have been engaged in war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The most concerning development in recent years, however, vis-a-vis Saudi influence in the West, is the extent to which Riyadh has been funding the building of mosques as a way of promoting its ultra-conservative and puritanical interpretation of Islam, one completely incompatible with the 21st century.
In 2015 Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel came out in public and accused the Saudis of funding mosques in which extremism is regularly promoted. In an interview with the German magazine Bild am Sonntag, Mr. Gabriel said:
"We have to make clear to the Saudis that the time of looking away is over. Wahhabi mosques all over the world are financed by Saudi Arabia. Many Islamists who are a threat to public safety come from these communities in Germany."
Religious sectarianism and rigid adherence to an anti-human 7th-century doctrine underpins what passes for justice in the kingdom itself. We are talking a country in which people are regularly and ritually beheaded, flogged, and even crucified for daring to deviate from the law. In 2016 alone, the state carried out 154 executions, many of those for non-violent crimes. Yet, regardless, for those who claim the mantle of democracy and human rights, slavishly defending the kingdom and its vile and barbaric practices has long been a received truth.
Let us be clear: Britain's longstanding alliance with Saudi Arabia benefits nobody apart from UK arms companies and their shareholders. It is undeniably an alliance inimical to the country's security, bringing its entire political establishment into disrepute as a consequence.
Western governments cannot have it both ways; they cannot expect to defeat terrorism and protect their citizens while continuing to refuse to grasp the issue by its roots. The world is dealing with a malignant ideology, one that whether associated with Daesh, Nusra, or Saudi Arabia is the same. That this ideology has grown in traction in recent years is now self-evident, thus begging the question: what are we going to do about it?
People have the right to go out and enjoy themselves without being slaughtered. It is a fundamental right that unites people in London, Moscow, Paris, and Damascus. Those who would seek to deny them this right are the enemy of humanity and must be regarded and treated accordingly.
Make no mistake: the head of this Salafi-jihadi snake resides in Riyadh.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.