Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism and the Spread of Sunni Theofascism
Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism and the Spread of Sunni TheofascismBy Amb. Curtin Winsor, Ph.D.
The United States has largely eliminated the infrastructure and operational leadership of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network over the past five years. However, its ideological offspring continue to proliferate across the globe.
The Bush administration has done little to halt this ideological onslaught beyond quietly (and unsuccessfully) urging the Saudi royal family to desist. This lack of resolve is rooted in American dependence on Saudi oil production, fears of instability in the kingdom, wishful thinking about democracy promotion as an antidote to religious extremism, and preoccupation with confronting Iran.
In 1744, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab forged an historic alliance with the Al-Saud clan and sanctified its drive to vanquish its rivals. In return, the Al-Saud supported campaigns by Wahhabi zealots to cleanse the land of "unbelievers." In 1801, Saudi-Wahhabi warriors crossed into present day Iraq and sacked the Shiite holy city of Karbala, killing over 4,000 people. After the Saudis conquered Mecca and Medina in the 1920s, they destroyed such "idolatrous" shrines as the Jannat al-Baqi cemetary, where four of the twelve Shiite imams were buried (on the grounds that grave markers are bida'a, or objectionable innovations).
"Man . . . requires proper instruction and a fortunate nature, and then of all animals he becomes the most divine and most civilized; but if he be insufficiently or ill educated, he is the most savage of earthly creatures."
Be dissociated from the infidels, hate them for their religion, leave them, never rely on them for support, do not admire them, and always oppose them in every way according to Islamic law.
[W]hoever helps unbelievers against Muslims, regardless of what type of support he lends to them, he is an unbeliever himself.
Never greet the Christian or Jew first. Never congratulate the infidel on his holiday. Never befriend an infidel unless it is to convert him. Never imitate the infidel. Never work for an infidel. Do not wear a graduation gown because this imitates the infidel.
 See Mohammed Ayoob, "Political Islam: Image and Reality," World Policy Journal, Vol. 11, No. 3, Fall 2004.
 Fascism is "a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion." See Robert Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), p. 218.
 Saudi police 'stopped' fire rescue, BBC, 15 March 2002. Wahhabi religious police (mutaween) prevented Saudi schoolgirls from fleeing a burning school because they were not properly veiled, leaving fifteen of them to die inside in 2002, an outrage equaled only by the Taliban's rein of terror against women in Afghanistan.
 R. James Woolsey, "The Elephant in The Middle East Living Room: Watching Wahhabis," The National Review, 14 December 2005.
 Zawahiri declared in a December 2006 videotape, "How could they not demand an Islamic constitution before entering these elections? Are they not an Islamic movement?" See: "Al Qaeda Warns U.S. on Fighting in Muslim Lands," The New York Times, 21 December 2006.
 Zawahiri accused it of being "duped, provoked and used" by the United States after it participated in the 2005 legislative elections. See "Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader praises U.S. hints of troop reduction in Iraq," The Associated Press, 6 January 2006.
 In his 2003 book, Why America Slept, Gerald Posner cites two unidentified senior Bush administration officials as saying that captured Al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah revealed details of a Saudi-Pakistani-Bin Laden triangle. See Gerald Posner, Why America Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11, (New York: Random House, 2003).
 "Inside the Kingdom," Time, 7 September 2003.
 Nina Shea, Saudi Arabia's Curriculum of Intolerance, Freedom House, 2006.
 John Esposito, quoted in Gary Leupp, On Terrorism, Methodism, Saudi 'Wahhabism' and the Censored 9-11 Report, Counterpunch, 8 August 2003.
 Ali al-Ahmed of the Washington Institute for Gulf Affairs makes this point. See Saudi Arabia's Curriculum of Intolerance, CBN.org, 14 June 2006.
 "Top Saudi cleric issues religious edict declaring Shiites to be infidels," Associated Press, 29 December 2006.
 More Evidence of Saudi Double Talk?, MSNBC, 26 April 2005.
 In an April 2006 lecture, Saudi cleric Nasser bin Suleiman al-Omar cautioned his audience not to "get involved in things that are not jihad . . . [and] divert the strife and calamity into the lands of the Muslims, instead of aiming them directly at the enemies." He continued, saying that: "there are places where jihad is proper - in Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, Chechnya, Kashmir, and the Philippines." See Saudi Cleric Nasser bin Suleiman Al-'Omar: 'America is Now Disappearing From the Hearts Within America Itself . . . MEMRI Special Dispatch #1154, 4 May 2006.
 Alex Alexiev, "Terrorism: Growing Wahhabi Influence in the United States", Testimony before the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security, 26 June 2003.
 Author interview with Evgueni Novokov, Ph.D., former colonel, senior staff officer for the Soviet Politburo and deputy director for Middle East Operations, in charge of Arabic Department, and relationships with CPSU Central Committee front organizations and friendly parties; advised Central Committee members on Islamic affairs, 1986 -1988. 22 October 2006.
 Author interview with Abdel Guzman, Grand Imam of Jolo, Jolo City, Sulu Province, The Philippines, 5 March 2004.
 Author's interview with Abdel Guzman, The Grand Imam of Jolo, Op. Cit.
 See Freedom House, The Talibanization of Nigeria: Radical Islam, Extremist Sharia Law, and Religious Freedom, March 2002.
 "Against the Saudization of Somaliland," Addis Tribune (Ethiopia), 21 November 2003. http://www.addistribune.com/Archives/2003/11/21-11-03/Against.htm
 In March 2002, the official Saudi magazine Ain al-Yaqeen estimated that the Saudi royal family in countries where Muslims were a minority has funded 210 Islamic centers, 1,500 mosques, 202 colleges, and 2,000 madrassas. The number of all Saudi Government and charitably funded institutions beyond Saudi Arabia is much higher. Cited in "Inside the Kingdom," Time, 7 September 2003.
 Alex Alexiev, "France at the Brink", The San Diego Union Tribune, 20 November 2005. See also: Alex Alexiev, Europe's Islamist Future is Now, The Center for Security Policy, 13 June 2005.
 Other publications examined include textbooks from the Saudi Ministry of Education and collections of religious edicts by state-sanctioned clerics in the kingdom. See Freedom House, Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques, January 2005.
 Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, "Wahhabism in the Big House: The Teaching of Jihad in American Penitentiaries," The Weekly Standard, 26 September 2005.
 "Terrorist Recruitment in Prisons and The Recent Arrests Related to Guantanamo Bay Detainees," Testimony of John S. Pistole, Assistant Director, Counterterrorism Division, FBI, before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security, 14 October 2003.
 Testimony of Dr. J. Michael Waller before the US Senate Judiciary Committee's Terrorism Subcommittee, 14 October 2003.
 Frank Gaffney, A Troubling Influence, Front Page Magazine.com, 9 December 2003.
 Glenn Simpson, "Suspect Lessons: A Muslim School Used by Military Has Troubling Ties," The Wall Street Journal, 3 December 2003.
 "For Conservative Muslims, Goal of Isolation a Challenge; 9/11 Put Strict Adherents on the Defensive," The Washington Post, 5 September 2006.
 Edward L. Morse and James Richard, "The Battle for Energy Dominance," Foreign Affairs, March/April 2002.
 David Ignatius, "The Operator," The Washington Post, 5 November 2006, p.7.
 Daniel Pipes, "The Scandal of U.S.-Saudi Relations," The National Interest, Winter 2002/2003.
 "Oil for Security Fueled Close Ties; But Major Differences Led to Tensions," The Washington Post, 11 February 2002.
 In November 2006, Nawaf Obaid, a close advisor to Prince Turki, warned in a Washington Post op-ed that a phased American withdrawal from Iraq will result in "massive Saudi intervention," with options including "funding, arms and logistical support" to Sunni insurgents. "As the economic powerhouse of the Middle East, the birthplace of Islam and the de facto leader of the world's Sunni community (which comprises 85 percent of all Muslims), Saudi Arabia has both the means and the religious responsibility to intervene." See Nawaf Obaid, "Stepping Into Iraq: Saudi Arabia Will Protect Sunnis if the U.S. Leaves," The Washington Post, 29 November 2006.
 Outlook on Renewable Energy in America, Volume II: Joint Summary Report, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), March 2007.
 The Rand Corporation, Building Moderate Muslim Networks, 2007.
Curtin Winsor, Jr. is a former United States Ambassador to Costa Rica. He graduated from Brown University in 1961 with a degree in English literature, and then received a Masters in Latin American studies in 1964 and a Ph.D. in international studies in 1971 from the School of International Service at American University in Washington, D.C. He worked as an adviser to President Ronald Reagan and Sen. Robert Dole, as well as for the U.S. Foreign Service. * This article had previously been published in the Mideast Monitor.