Iraq veteran Tulsi Gabbard wants to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for the US presidential elections in 2020. Her main selling point is her firm opposition to disastrous regime-change wars abroad. And in the latest TV debate, one of her statements that got people talking throughout the US was her claim that:
our president is supporting al-Qaeda.
We were all lied to. We were told that Saddam had WMD, was working w/ Al Qaeda & that this posed a threat to the American people. But not only have we not gone after Al Qaeda, they are stronger than they were on 9/11 #TULSI2020 #DemDebate https://t.co/cl7xcK02rV pic.twitter.com/ckdQvIQMp8
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) August 1, 2019
Trump, Saudi Arabia, and al-Qaeda
Gabbard later explained that she was referring mainly to Trump’s “support and alliance with Saudi Arabia”, which she accused of “both providing direct and indirect support directly to al-Qaeda”. She also called the Saudi dictatorship “the propagator of this Wahhabi-Salafist ideology that provides the fertile recruiting grounds for terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and Isis [Daesh]”. And she asked:
How can you say Saudi Arabia is a great partner in fighting terrorism when they are fueling and funding terrorist groups in Yemen?
As the New Statesman has explained, “the narrowness of the Wahhabi vision is a fertile soil in which extremism can flourish”. And it’s no coincidence that both al-Qaeda and Daesh follow this ideology. In fact, one senior Qatari official even claimed the latter began as “a Saudi project“.
Reports have claimed, meanwhile, that the Saudi-led coalition currently devastating Yemen has “transferred US-made weapons to militias designated by the US as terrorist groups”. Investigations have also shown that the coalition “secured secret deals with al-Qaeda in Yemen and recruited hundreds of the group’s fighters”. Yet Trump has openly shown his total disinterest in stopping arms sales to Saudi Arabia to hold it to account for its links to terrorism. And his unwavering support allows the Saudi regime to keep using billions of its petrodollars to spread its extreme Wahhabi ideology around the world.
As former US Army colonel Lawrence Wilkerson recently summed up:
The greatest state sponsor of terrorism in the region, and indeed in the world, is Saudi Arabia—our ally.
Trump had not responded to Gabbard’s comment by the time of publication.
“Extremist Saudi ideology” inspires global terrorism
Gabbard has long stressed how “extremist Saudi ideology” inspires terrorist organisations around the world. She has also been consistent in attacking Trump over his shameless support for Saudi Arabia:
Trump’s criticism of Rep #IlhanOmar is complete hypocrisy. Trump says “WE WILL NEVER FORGET (9/11)!” Yet it is Trump who’s been acting as al-Qaeda’s big brother and protector in Syria, and turned America into the prostitute of AQ's biggest supporter—the Saudis #WeWillNeverForget pic.twitter.com/TLsCPxXaAd
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) April 14, 2019
By vetoing War Powers Act, Trump again proves he’s the servant of Saudi Arabia—the theocratic dictatorship spending billions spreading the most extreme & intolerant form of Islam around the world, supporting al-Qaeda & other jihadists, & waging genocidal war in Yemen w/ US help pic.twitter.com/XsBy3EjhvW
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) April 17, 2019
Modern-day jihadi terrorism is not only down to Saudi Arabia, though. It’s a product of numerous complex factors. As The Canary highlighted previously, key targets for blame are:
- Historic Western backing for jihadis against secular anti-colonial forces. For example, the CIA backed jihadi fighters in Afghanistan to defeat secular forces supported by the USSR in the 1980s. This benefited extremists like Osama bin Laden.
- Western military interventionism in the Middle East. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria all come to mind. Regarding Syria, Tulsi Gabbard has long been an outspoken critic of US support for Wahhabi extremists in its efforts to overthrow the Assad regime.
- Western support for brutal, divisive regimes in Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Turkey.
Stopping Western support for Saudi Arabia, however, is an excellent place to start in defeating terrorism. And we should applaud Gabbard for calling Trump out over his shameless, sycophantic alliance with the Saudi dictatorship.
Featured image via screenshot
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