NEW STANDARDS FOR THE SAUDIS
July 19, 2005
It has been no surprise that Saudi Arabia has been lax when it comes to helping the United States fight terrorism, but Congress is finally doing something about it, says Stephen Schwartz of the Weekly Standard.
Sen. Arlen Spector (R-Penn.) has introduced the Saudi Arabia Accountability Act of 2005, which penalizes the Saudi government for impeding U.S. counterterrorism efforts:
- The Saudis have contributed $4 billion to Palestinian extremists since 2000, half of it going to Hamas.
- They dragged their feet on the 9/11 terror investigation, the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers and other known plots by preventing officials from interviewing terrorist suspects in their custody.
- Additionally, they have financed the extreme faction of Islam known as Wahhabism -- which promotes hatred -- in mosques and schools in the United States.
The bill requires the Saudi government to cooperate with the United States in investigating and stopping terrorism, closing schools and charities (both inside and outside of Saudi Arabia) that support terrorism, and halting payments to families of suicide bombers in Israel.
The bill also includes sanctions for noncompliance, such as:
- Banning the export of special military technology to Saudi Arabia.
- Restricting travel in the United States by Saudi diplomats outside of their embassies.
The bill has gained support from both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate.
Source: Stephen Schwartz, "Congress Tries to Hold the Saudis Accountable," Weekly Standard, June 8, 2005.
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