The Times (London): Saudi Arabia Bigger Threat than Iran

London Times: Saudi Arabia Bigger Threat than Iran The Times of London opinion piece is headlined: "You're attacking the wrong nation, Mr. Blair." In it, commentator Anatole Kaletsky argues that British Prime Minister Tony Blair's bellicose words about Iran in a recent speech are misguided — and that the real terrorist threat originates in Saudi Arabia, an "ally" of the West. In his December 20 speech in Dubai, Blair called Iran the greatest "strategic threat" in the Middle East and declared that it seeks "to pin us back in Lebanon, in Iraq and in Palestine. Our response should be to expose what they are doing, build the alliances to prevent it and pin them back across the whole of the region." But Kaletsky points to "the country that really is the financial and spiritual homeland of al-Qaida, the 9/11 terrorists and the majority of foreign insurgents fighting in Iraq. This country is, of course, Saudi Arabia . . . "The Saudis' ambivalence in the war against jihadi radicalism is hardly surprising, since extremist interpretations of Islam remain far more dominant in Saudi society than they have ever been in Iran or any Middle Eastern country other than Afghanistan under the Taliban. "Moreover, the radicalization of previously quiescent Muslim populations from Indonesia and Turkey to Britain, Spain and France continues to be directly funded by the Saudi money pouring into Sunni mosques and madrassas inspired by the extremist Wahhabi sect. "If, as Mr. Blair suggests, the 21st century will be marked by an ideological struggle between Western civilization and Islamic extremism, the main battles will have to be fought with Saudi Arabia, not Iran."

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