by Will Worley,
Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most prominent Muslim nations which has previously been associated with terrorism and religious extremism, is likely to escape censure from Donald Trump.
The US leader is expected to sign a draft executive order blocking refugee admissions from Syria, barring all refugees from the rest of the world for at least 120 days and suspending immigration from Syria and six other predominantly Muslim countries, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, for at least 30-days.
But the document, which could still be amended before it is officially signed, appears to make no mention of Saudi Arabia, despite the Middle-Eastern country’s associations with the largest terror attack on US soil.
Of the 19 hijackers involved in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, 15 were Saudi Arabian citizens.
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The independent American commission that investigated the attacks found no evidence that the Saudi government or senior Saudi officials financed the terrorists. Saudi Arabia has strenuously denied any involvement in the attacks.
But US diplomatic cables released by whistleblowing website, Wikileaks, revealed that private individuals in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states friendly to the United States are the chief source of funding for al Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist groups.
Despite extensive efforts to limit the distribution of funds to extremists from the Middle East, the documents showed deep frustration in Washington with the level of co-operation from governments in the region.
“It has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority,” read a cable from Hillary Clinton, then US Secretary of State, dated December 30, 2009.
“Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide,” added the document.
Saudi officials also recently admitted to misleading the US on funding extremism, according to the Politico website.