Letter sent to Daily Telegraph, 16 November 2015:
Just over a year ago, your Chief Foreign Correspondent David Blair reported that General Jonathan Shaw, (who retired as Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff in 2012), told The Daily Telegraph that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were “primarily responsible for the rise of the extremist Islam that inspires Isil terrorists.”
Mr Blair added that the two Gulf states “have spent billions of dollars on promoting a militant and proselytising interpretation of their faith” derived from Abdul Wahhab, an eighteenth century scholar, and based on the Salaf, or the original followers of the Prophet."
General Shaw emphasised: "This is a time bomb that, under the guise of education, Wahhabi Salafism is igniting under the world really. And it is funded by Saudi and Qatari money and that must stop."
He forcefully added that the British and American air campaign would not "stop the support of people in Qatar and Saudi Arabia for this kind of activity," stressing "It's missing the point.“
(Qatar and Saudi Arabia 'have ignited time bomb by funding global spread of radical Islam' Daily Telegraph, 5 Oct 2014; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/11140860/Qatar-and-Saudi-Arabia-have-ignited-time-bomb-by-funding-global-spread-of-radical-Islam.html
Nearly a year later, Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Ambassador in London disingenuously wrote in the Daily Telegraph “Saudi Arabia has also had to contend with disingenuous allegations concerning the Kingdom’s role in the war against terrorist groups such as so-called Isil and al-Qaeda. The fact is that no nation is more invested in the struggle against extremism than the Kingdom, which remains the primary target of such organisations, even more so than Western nations.” (How Saudi Arabia helps Britain keep the peace: The vital strategic partnership between Britain and its Gulf ally is suddenly under threat , 26 Oct 2015; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/saudiarabia/11954146/How-Saudi-Arabia-helps-Britain-keep-the-peace.html
This naivity was also the line taken by foreign office minister Tobias Elwood in a written answer to veteran Labour backbench MP Paul Flynn in September, when he asserted
“We work closely with countries in the Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, to counter the threat from terrorists and extremists across the region. Saudi Arabia is a key partner on a broad range of counter terrorism questions. The Saudi government is acutely aware of the threat from terrorist groups such as Al Qaida and ISIL to their own and global security, and have been at the forefront of efforts to combat them. Saudi Arabia has a comprehensive set of laws in place to prevent terrorist financing, which we assess that it vigorously enforces.” (answer 8060; 7 September 2015).
Saudi Arabia is a huge purchaser of British weapons, in multi billion pound deals. Is this the reason ministers refuse to face up to the perverse reality of Saudi support for terrorism, both against Iran-backed Shiite muslims In Syria and Iraq, and European citizens last weekend in Paris?