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Sanders: Saudi Rulers Spread, Fund Terror Around the World

Sanders: Saudi Rulers Spread,  Fund Terror Around the WorldSanders: Saudi Rulers Spread,  Fund Terror Around the World

Saudi Arabia is “not an ally of the united States,” according to Bernie Sanders, the independent senator and former Democratic presidential hopeful.

Sanders broke with the bipartisan consensus on Capitol Hill, issuing a scathing denunciation of the oil kingdom, which has recently embarked on a new round of domestic repression, The Intercept reported.

“I consider [Saudi Arabia] to be an undemocratic country that has supported terrorism around the world, it has funded terrorism. … They are not an ally of the United States.”

The Vermont senator accused the “incredibly anti-democratic” Saudis of “continuing to fund madrasas” and spreading “an extremely radical Wahhabi doctrine in many countries around the world.”

Wahhabis are hardliners who accuse Muslims who do not follow their extremist interpretation of Islam, as heretics punishable by death. They also view all non-Muslims as infidels who have to be fought against. Their radical ideologies are usually thought in Saudi-funded schools around the world known as madrasas.  

“They are fomenting a lot of hatred,” he added. In June, Sanders joined 46 other senators in voting to try and block the sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition backed by the US has been bombing Houthi fighters in Yemen since 2015 and is accused of killing thousands of Yemeni civilians.

Sanders called for a “rethink, in terms of American foreign policy … vis-a-vis Iran and Saudi Arabia.” The senator suggested the United States should consider a pivot toward long-standing adversary Iran and away from traditional ally Saudi Arabia. The latter, he claimed, “has played a very bad role internationally, but we have sided with them time and time and time again, and yet Iran, which just held elections, Iran, whose young people really want to reach out to the West, we are … continuing to put them down.”

  Wave of Arrests

Meanwhile, a dissident Saudi academic has said a recent wave of arrests is an attempt by authorities to crackdown on opponents of the king-in-waiting’s aggressive foreign policy towards Qatar.

Madawi al-Rasheed told The New Arab in an interview this week that the recent detention of around two dozen people, including influential clerics, are linked to the “failure” of a Saudi-led boycott of Doha.

“The detainees’ identities and their ideological and political leanings indicate that the authorities want to send a message to Qatar after they have failed to make Doha kneel,” Rasheed, a visiting professor at the Middle East Centre, London School of Economics, said.

“Saudi Arabia is attempting to go after Qatar with the arrests because it believes that Saudi Islamists are loyal to Doha,”

“The message to Saudis is that your fates will be the same as these imprisoned clerics if you do not support the regime’s campaign against any country.”

 

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