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Uriya Shavit

  • Summary: 

    The Saudi religious and political establishment plays an ambivalent role vis-à-vis violent radicalization. On the one hand, it leads and inspires theologically-grounded campaigns against al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and other jihadist groups. On the other, it has served as the main financier and propagator of the notions that non-Muslims are inferior to Muslims; that Muslims are bound to segregate culturally from non-Muslims and Islamize the West; and that the liberal West is a corrupt, helpless civilization on the verge of collapse.

    In strategic terms, it is astonishing that a militarily weak kingdom, whose existence hinges in substantial ways on the continued support of the United States, should serve as the main sponsor of radicalization that destabilizes Western societies. U.S. and European Union policies should, therefore, be confidently informed by a simple truth: The West can survive without a Saudi alliance, but the kingdom will not last a year without U.S. military support. The kingdom's responsibility for breeding radicalism in the West should be underscored publicly and regularly, and the House of Saud should be pressured to reform its ways by all means possible. It must substitute its ambivalent policies for either unequivocal support for integration-minded agendas, or better still, a complete retreat from its campaign to influence the minds of Muslims in the West.

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