Archive for August 26th, 2016

Saudis and Extremism: ‘Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters’

by Scott Shaneaug,
New York Times
Aug. 25, 2016

Critics see Saudi Arabia’s export of a rigid strain of Islam as contributing to terrorism, but the kingdom’s influence depends greatly on local conditions.

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump do not agree on much, but Saudi Arabia may be an exception. She has deplored Saudi Arabia’s support for “radical schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path towards extremism.” He has called the Saudis “the world’s biggest funders of terrorism.”

The first American diplomat to serve as envoy to Muslim communities around the world visited 80 countries and concluded that the Saudi influence was destroying tolerant Islamic traditions. “If the Saudis do not cease what they are doing,” the official, Farah Pandith, wrote last year, “there must be diplomatic, cultural and economic consequences.”

And hardly a week passes without a television pundit or a newspaper columnist blaming Saudi Arabia for jihadist violence. On HBO, Bill Maher calls Saudi teachings “medieval,” adding an epithet. In The Washington Post, Fareed Zakaria writes that the Saudis have “created a monster in the world of Islam.”

The idea has become a commonplace: that Saudi Arabia’s export of the rigid, bigoted, patriarchal, fundamentalist strain of Islam known as Wahhabism has fueled global extremism and contributed to terrorism. As the Islamic State projects its menacing calls for violence into the West, directing or inspiring terrorist attacks in country after country, an old debate over Saudi influence on Islam has taken on new relevance. Read the rest of this entry »


Will Najib clear Malaysia’s name of being a global kleptocracy in his 59th National Day and 53rd Malaysia Day Messages and make it the subject of his address to the UN General Assembly next month?

Malaysians will celebrate the 59th National Day and the 53rd Malaysia Day in five and three weeks respectively.

What should be Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s main concern in these two messages?

Will Najib clear Malaysia’s name of being a global kleptocracy in his 59th National day and 53rd Malaysia Day Messages and make it the subject of his fifth address as Prime Minister to the United Nations General Assembly next month?

When Najib became Prime Minister in April 2009, he prides himself as the ‘Father of Transformation’ or ‘Bapa Transformasi’ with a spate of transformation initiatives and an alphabet soup of acronyms such as 1Malaysia, ETP, GTP, NKRA, NKEA, SRI, NEM, BR1M and KR1M, just to name a few.

But the last transformation Malaysians want from Najib is to transform Malaysia into a global kleptocracy overnight – which the US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuits for forfeiture of US$1 billion of assets as a result of theft, embezzlement, misappropriation and money-laundering of US$3.5 billion 1MDB funds have highlighted to the international community since July 20. Read the rest of this entry »