Home Secretary Amber Rudd accidentally let slip a secret about Saudi Arabia that could tank the Tories this election. On Woman’s Hour, presenter Jane Garvey was saying [10.09]:
They [Saudi Arabia] also are believed to have very strong funding links with groups like [Daesh (Isis/Isil)]…
On 6 June, Rudd replied [10.14]:
Well, we’ve managed to reduce that, the funding links, and we are always watchful to make sure that their influence, where it’s bad, is going to be limited.
The BBC Radio 4 show carried on as normal, with participants seemingly unaware that Rudd apparently just made an astonishing confession. But a few minutes later, a listener at home (Amanda) phoned [11.58] the station. She said:
Well, I’m just astonished. Amber Rudd has just admitted that Saudi Arabia fund Isis.
Startled, Rudd responded:
I have not!
Host Garvey chimed in:
No, she didn’t actually. She didn’t say that.
But Amanda wasn’t having it:
She did. She said ‘reduce’. They’re helping them reduce funding for Isis.
No, no. There’s no way. I’m so sorry. I have to correct that on the record. I have not said that.
The presenter then revised what had just been said, backing Rudd:
I suggested it actually, Amanda. But carry on, Amber Rudd.
Rudd swooped in:
Well there was a time in the 80s when there were concerns about, er, Saudi Arabia funding mosques… that is not done anymore…
Saudi Arabia funds only a tiny minority of mosques in Britain. But the number of these institutions reportedly increased from 68 in 2007 to around 110 in 2015.
Suppressing a report into terror funding
Labour’s Emily Thornberry responded to Rudd, regarding Saudi funding for groups like Daesh, saying:
Well how do we know that? You won’t publish the review.
A terrorist organisation is nothing without its resources. Yet the Conservatives are trying to suppress a review into terror funding because it reportedly highlights the role Saudi Arabia plays. Theresa May is a strong supporter of Saudi Arabia, and her government recently approved £3.5bn worth of arms export licences. The Conservatives only issued the investigation in the first place as part of a deal with the Liberal Democrats. And when Channel 4‘s Michael Crick recently challenged Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on suppressing the report, he was left floundering and contradicting himself.
But the signs Rudd was speaking truth about the “funding links” go well beyond the scandal over the report. Rudd is not the only front-line politician to apparently make such an admission. In a Wikileaks cable, former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says that Saudi Arabia was providing “clandestine financial and logistic support” to Daesh and other extremist groups in Syria and Iraq as early as 2014. And there are strong reasons to believe such support began before that.
Still, however, May insists that our close ties with Saudi Arabia “keep people on the streets of Britain safe”. Another Wikileaks cable shows that the US government privately admitted that “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide”.
By contrast, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn does not think the Saudi kingdom is worth the unflinching loyalty displayed by the Conservatives. Speaking in Carlisle, he called May and the Saudis out:
— поддельные новости jansant (@Jansant) June 5, 2017
After a series of recent terrorist attacks, the Conservative Party’s close links to Saudi Arabia have come under intense scrutiny. Voters will rightly be asking how the government expects them to believe it is serious on terror, while suppressing a crucial report to protect a foreign power. Especially given the Saudi state ideology of Wahhabism is the driving doctrine behind Daesh. Now, the Home Secretary appears to have admitted that her government knows the kingdom has supported groups like Daesh in some way, yet hides the evidence from the public. And the evidence reinforces her confession. In the current climate, this could tank the Tories on voting day.
Listen to the apparent confession here:
And listen to Amanda’s phone in here:
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