German Prime Minister Angela Merkel’s Deputy Sigmar Gabriel accused Saudi Arabia of providing funding support to global radical extremism.
The German Vice Chancellor told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag Sunday that Saudi Arabia is the main fund source for the spread and strengthening of the stronghold of radical extremists across the globe
In the interview, Gabriel revealed that “Wahhabi mosques are being funded by Saudi Arabia all over the world. Many dangerous Islamists come from these communities in Germany”. Gabriel’s comment, was a reaction to the German intelligence agency “BDN’s” warning that Saudi Arabia is playing an active role in the destabilization of the Middle East, released to the media on Wednesday.
Gabriel, who is Germany’s Vice Chancellor, is considered to be the only most high-profile western politician who has openly accused the Saudi Arabian Kingdom of propping up the extremist movement.
This allegation pointed to the kingdom is not at all without basis, if viewed from the stance of the royal family’s impulsive interventionist policy away from its “current cautious diplomatic” position.
Even the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki shared a similar view with the German top official. In an exclusive interview with France 24 in March last year, al-Maliki said that Saudi Arabia was among those countries, which has given support to terrorists through provision of weapons and bolstering political activities.
Saudi officials of the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior and the embassy of Saudi Arabia in Berlin did not respond to the accusation but left the calls of CNN unanswered.
In contrast, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to London, Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud, refuted the accusation. In a statement on Wednesday, the ambassador stressed that the country is not supporting terrorism.
However, he pointed out that “Mistrust, misunderstanding and deliberate misrepresentation of Saudi Arabia’s role and policy priorities can only upset the delicate act of balancing domestic and international counter-terrorism efforts with the promotion of stability and security in the wider Arab and Islamic world and, as a result, empower the radicals menacing our region and the international community.”
Fahad Nazer, a former political analyst of the Saudi Embassy in Washington, expressed the Saudi official’s frustration on the perception of Saudi’s involvement in creating and supporting ISIS.
Nazer added that those who charge Riyadh lack “credible evidence” to back up their argument. He said, “Having experienced the wrath of terrorism first hand on multiple occasions, it would defy all common sense for the Saudi government to support ISIS or any other al Qaeda affiliate anywhere.”
There are worries that the German Vice Chancellor’s accusations might undermine Saudi-Western relations. However, Germany to maintain relations with Saudi Arabia, tried to keep away and disregard the BND’s report. Steffen Seibert, a government spokesman declared on Friday that Gabriel’s accusation is not the position of the federal government of Germany.
Whether the accusation is true or not or without any concrete basis, one thing is sure, that a coalition to fight ISIS needs the active involvement of Saudi Arabia.