Jihadists in Iraq: An Unwelcome Saudi Export

(Weekly Standard) Stephen Schwartz - The main influence inciting Sunni Muslim Iraqis to attack coalition forces is Wahhabism, although its proponents seek to disguise it under the more acceptable name Salafism. It is financed and supported from inside Saudi Arabia, which shares a long border with southern Iraq. "The Fallujah region is filling up with Wahhabis," a tribal representative from that section of the Sunni Triangle said in late December. Mullah Krekar, religious mentor of the terrorist group Ansar al-Islam, declared defiantly last year that he was proud to be a disciple of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab. Beginning last summer, Saudi names began appearing among those of "martyrs" killed in Iraq. In November, the Saudi opposition website arabianews.org, which had chronicled the deaths of various Saudi jihad fighters in Iraq, reported the death of Adel Al-Naser from Riyadh. Furthermore, Saudi guards on the Iraqi border told the website's writers, "Saudi fighters are still heading to Iraq, with little scrutiny by Saudi authorities." The Saudis have a long history of using foreign jihad campaigns to divert attention from crises at home, and to reinforce the hold of Wahhabism, their state religion, over their subjects.

2004-01-27 00:00:00

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