Jun 062017

There is increasing pressure being applied by opposition parties on British Prime Minister Theresa May to give the go ahead for the public release of a ‘sensitive’ government report into terror funding which is said to focus on the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to The Independent.

Calls for the release of the Home Office inquiry into the sources of militant propaganda materials and funding are growing more vocal after Saturday’s deadly terrorist attacks in London.

Islamic State, which espouses an extremist version of Wahabism practised in Saudi Arabia, has claimed responsibility for the incident, which is the third terror attack on British soil in a period of three months.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said that the UK needs to “have some difficult conversations, starting with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have funded and fuelled extremist ideology.”

“It is no good…Theresa May suppressing a report into the foreign funding of extremist groups. We have to get serious about cutting off the funding to these terror networks, including IS here and in the Middle East,” he added.

Writing in The Guardian on Monday, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron also called for the report’s release.

“Theresa May now has a choice. Does she publish that report or keep it hidden?” Farron said.

“May talks of the need to have some difficult and sometimes embarrassing conversations. That should include exposing and rooting out the source funding of terror, even it means difficult and embarrassing conversations with those like Saudi Arabia, that the government claims are our allies.”

The Conservative government has been repeatedly criticised for increased arms sales to Riyadh, one of the top destinations for UK arms export licences: recent British arms export licences sold to the Gulf state exceed a whopping £3.5bn.

Critics say those weapons serve as a catalyst for conflict and extremism across the Middle East, including in war-torn Yemen.

The inquiry had been commissioned by David Cameron at the insistence of the Liberal Democrats in exchange for their support of extending UK air strikes against IS into Syria back in December 2015.

Originally the report was to be published in 2016 – but it is still incomplete and may never see the light of day due to its ‘sensitive’ content, a Home Office source told The Guardian last month.

Talking about the delayed report on Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said that to suggest “[the Government] is not taking terrorist financing seriously is ridiculous.”

When asked whether the British people have a right to know whether the report “points the finger” at Riyadh, Bradley responded that the UK must “work with our partners and our allies” and that “we save far more lives by working together.”

Earlier in the programme, Hannah Stewart, co-head of the security and extremism unit at think tank Policy Exchange, also called on the authorities to release the overdue inquiry.

Over the years literature considered “intolerant at least and in some cases extremist” had been found in British mosques which could be directly traced back to Saudi publishers, she said.

“The Saudi regime has one of the most appalling human rights records in the world. If it has played any role in funding or fuelling terrorism or violent groups then we must know. The report must be published, no matter who it is embarrassing for,” Andrew Smith of the Campaign Against Arms Trade said.

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“Regardless of who is elected on Thursday, if the UK is to play a positive role in the Middle East, then it must finally stop arming and supporting brutal dictatorships like Saudi Arabia.”

9/11 connection

While In Washington, President Donald Trump’s ascension to the White House initially appeared devastating to Saudi interests, as Trump had accused the monarchy of propagating an extremist ideology throughout the region and abroad, according to NewsWeek.

Trump, however, signed a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia during a trip to the country last week, pointed out only last year that 15 of the 19 hijackers connected to al Qaeda and responsible for the 9/11 attacks actually came from Saudi Arabia.

In the wake of the attacks, the US set its own special inquiry into Saudi Arabia’s potential involvement, the results of which were only made public last year.

The post Britain’s May under pressure to release Saudi terror funding report appeared first on The Express Tribune.

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