WASHINGTON – Even US allies in the Arab world continue to fund terror organizations, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed in a cable posted Monday by WikiLeaks.
The document, written last December, said that citizens in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE are the main funders of various organizations including al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, Lashkar e-Taiba and others.
Saudi Arabia, a principal US ally on both military and diplomatic levels, is presented in the cables as a particularly troubling problem. A cable from February this year said Saudi funding of terrorists remains a serious problem, and that Saudi Arabia does little to prevent such activity, relying mainly on tips from the CIA.
In a memo, Clinton notes that terror groups raise millions of dollars each year from Saudi sources, often during the hajj pilgrimage and the month of Ramadan. It is an ongoing challenge to persuade the authorities to make prevention of such activity a top priority, Clinton wrote. She added that Saudi contributors were the main source of funding for terror groups around the world.
Clinton during a visit to Qatar (Photo: AP)
In the leaked cables, Clinton and other senior sources note the "strategic gap" between the US and the UAE, which is exploited by terror groups. Qatar, which defeated the US in its bid to host the 2022 World Cup, is described as the "worst" in the region in its struggle against terror, while Kuwait is noted as a key point in the transfer of funds.
Clinton emphasized in a State Department internal memo that political will must be formed in those states in order to block terror funding networks, which threaten the stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan and threaten the lives of coalition soldiers.
Kuwait: US taking draconian measures
However, while the US may be frustrated by the failure of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to prevent the flow of funds, Arab states claim the US is "jumping to conclusions." According to cables from various US diplomats published in the New York Times and other papers, these states hold that the US has insufficient evidence that Islamic charitable groups and individuals fund terror.
A cable sent to Washington reports that senior figures in Kuwait oppose what they call America's "draconian measures" against important charitable organizations. US sources repeatedly expressed their concern regarding such organizations which are not under the supervision of state authorities, and are used to fund groups abroad.
However, another document details a meeting between a Kuwaiti minister and the US ambassador, during which the minister was "honest and pessimistic" about abilities to stop those funding terror in the framework of the law and political climate in Kuwait.
In another cable, the US embassy in Riyadh reports that the finance minister told the Saudi intelligence services about a visit of three senior Taliban members who were coming to the country to raise funds. The Saudis said they knew nothing of the visit. Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, who managed affairs during the absence of King Abdullah who went to the US for an operation, said it was a case of poor judgment and not support for terror.
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