FOREIGN MINISTER Adel Al-Jubeir reiterated the Kingdom’s firm commitment to defeat terrorism in an op-ed published by Newsweek Thursday, titled “The Saudis Are Fighting Terrorism, Don’t Believe Otherwise.”
“Multiple actors — each with their own motives — have targeted the Kingdom, seeking to destabilize the country and terrorize the Saudi people. So it is in our national interest to defeat terrorism — and a national priority,” wrote Al-Jubeir.
He continued, “It makes no sense for Saudi Arabia to support or condone those who have as their goal the destruction of Saudi Arabia. It is against our values, our faith and our national character.”
Al-Jubeir stressed that Saudi Arabia is sparing no expense to combat terrorism and all its sources.
“Whether non-state actors like Al-Qaeda the Islamic State (Daesh) militant group (ISIS), or state-sponsored extremism from Iran and its proxies, Saudi Arabia has, as much as any other country, a national security incentive to stop the men, the money and the mindset that foments terrorism and violent extremism,” he stated.
“Some try to malign Saudi Arabia by reciting that “15 of the 19” 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. They should know that the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, told US interrogators that the initial plan was to have 20 hijackers from different nationalities, but late in the planning Osama Bin Laden directed him to use as many Saudis as possible to give the attack a Saudi face.
“This was likely designed to drive a wedge between the Kingdom and the US. If this was Osama Bin Laden’s plan, it almost succeeded, as we saw from the wave of criticism the kingdom experienced after 9/11, Al-Jubeir wrote. Coming down heavily on Iran, the foreign minister said that country has used terrorism as an instrument of its foreign policy since the 1979 revolution.
“Saudi Arabia has long been a target of terrorism perpetrated by Iranian proxies. In 1987, the Iranian sponsored Hezbollah Al-Hejaz set fire to an oil facility in Ras Tanura in eastern Saudi Arabia. That same year, Saudi authorities foiled a plot by Iranian pilgrims to smuggle explosives into the Kingdom. In 1988, Hezbollah Al-Hejaz attacked a petrochemical company facility in Jubail,” he wrote.
Al-Jubeir cited 1996 Khobar bombings as the most despicable Iranian involvement. The bombing resulted in the deaths of 120 people, including 19 Americans.
“Faced with such diverse and dangerous adversaries, Saudi Arabia has spared no effort or expense to combat terrorism. The kingdom is committed to uprooting extremism at the source and draining militant groups of resources, he wrote.
The foreign minister also addressed the Kingdom’s efforts to cooperate with international partners, including the United Nations.
Terrorism, Al-Jubeir wrote, is a global scourge. “Many countries have known the grief and pain it causes. It makes no sense for Saudi Arabia to support or condone those who have as their goal the destruction of Saudi Arabia. It is against our values, our faith and our national character.
“That is why the Kingdom has responded with strength, persistence and resolve. To accuse the Kingdom of being lax, much less complicit, when it comes to combating terrorism and its financing is not only irresponsible but also flies against the face of reality.”