The Saudi Arabia Accountability Act of 2007 calls for Saudi Arabia to permanently close all schools, charities and other organizations within Saudi Arabia that fund, train, incite, encourage, aid or abet terrorists anywhere in the world, including providing support for families of individuals who support terrorism. It also calls for the termination of all Saudi aid and assistance to overseas organizations that fund, train, incite, encourage, aid or abet terrorism; the blocking of all such support by private Saudi organizations and individuals; and complete, unrestricted and unobstructed Saudi cooperation with the U.S. in combating terror. This Act requires Presidential certification of Saudi compliance and is enforced with the teeth of sanctions: it directs the President to prohibit export or issuance of an export license to Saudi Arabia for any U.S. defense articles or defense services on the U.S. munitions list or dual use items, and to restrict travel of Saudi diplomats in the United States.
The ZOA applauds the 12 cosponsors: Reps. Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Robert Brady (D-PA), Dan Burton (R-IN), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Michael Ferguson (R-NJ), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Sue Myrick (R-NC), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Steve Rothman (D-NJ), Robert Wexler (D-FL).
Saudi Arabia has NOT been a faithful ally in the War on Terror or supported the United States’ interests in the Middle East:
- Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.
- A fall 2007 report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom stated that, It appears that the Saudi government has made little or no progress on efforts to halt the exportation of extremist ideology outside the Kingdom.
- According to expert testimony presented in recent years to several Congressional committees, including the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, Judiciary Committee, and Intelligence committees in both houses, Saudi Arabia is and continues to be an epicenter for terrorist financing. Further, the Saudi governments has never fully cooperated in investigations into the al-Qaeda terrorist network.
- The 9/11 Commission, having interviewed numerous military officers and government officials who repeatedly listed Saudi Arabia as a prime location for terrorists to set up bases, found that Saudi Arabias society was a place where al-Qaeda raised money directly from individuals through charities.
- The Center for Religious Freedom, formerly affiliated with Freedom House, in a 2006 report entitled Saudi Arabias Curriculum of Intolerance, stated that government funded religious textbooks continue to advocate the destruction of any non-Wahhabi Muslim. Saudi Arabia has established Wahhabism, an extreme form of Islam, as the official state doctrine, and about 5,000,000 children are instructed each year in Islamic studies using Saudi Ministry of Education textbooks.
- The Iraq Study Group stated that “funding for the Sunni insurgency in Iraq comes from private donors in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States.” This information is supported by Treasury Department Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey, who in July 13, 2005 Congressional testimony stated that “Saudi donors may still be a significant source of terrorist financing, including for the insurgency in Iraq”.
- The New York Sun reported on July 30, 2007 that Saudi Arabian citizens and organizations have “acted as conduits, financiers, and facilitators for a wide variety of Islamic terror groups — from al-Qaeda to Hamas — for about 20 years now.”
- The New York Times reported on July 27, 2007, that “Of an estimated 60 to 80 foreign fighters who enter Iraq each month, American military and intelligence officials say that nearly half are coming from Saudi Arabia and that the Saudis have not done enough to stem the flow.”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, We applaud Congressman Weiner for introducing this important legislation, which addresses perhaps one of the most important, neglected aspects of the war on Islamism. As with the recent Senate version of the Saudi Arabia Accountability Act (S.2243) which ZOA helped initiate, this House bill deals with Saudi complicity in the war waged by Islamist terrorists against the United States, Israel and the West. It does not simply deal with Saudi individuals or private organizations that are terrorists, hate-mongers or donors to extreme Islamist causes, but with the official acts of commission and omission by the government of Saudi Arabia. Further, this legislation has the enforcement threat of sanctions behind it.
Considering the leading role that Saudi Arabia has played in the dissemination of extreme Wahhabi ideology throughout the world, including in the United States, coupled with the overwhelming record of Saudi misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance, it seems clear that we are dangerously handicapping ourselves by continuing to treat the Saudis as valued allies to be rewarded with arms sales and diplomatic praise rather than to be held accountable for their activities and reprimanded.
The Bush Administration has repeatedly failed to deal with the Saudi’s robust dissembling and misconduct. In 2005, President Bush certified that Saudi Arabia is cooperating in efforts to combat international terrorism, thereby green-lighting U.S. financial assistance to Saudi Arabia, unnecessarily adding US taxpayer dollars to the Saudi’s already immense petro-dollar wealth. This July, the Bush Administration proposed a $20 billion arms package for Saudi Arabia. These acts are a repudiation of President Bushs own personal commitment to fight both terrorists and the regimes that incubate them. More disturbing still, this activity send a very clear signal to the entire world that such regimes that harm America and our allies will be showered with rewards rather than any substantive punishment.
The ZOA urges Congress to pass this legislation (H.R.2976) as well the Senate version of the Saudi Arabia Accountability Act (S.2243) without delay.