CIA medal for Saudi prince shows US hypocrisy in fight on terror: Analyst
The counterterrorism partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia has been paradoxical. The CIA’s latest move to award a medal to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef for his “intelligence work in the fight against terrorism” has been even more ironic. The question many ask is why Washington should reward a Saudi official whose country is accused of supporting extremist groups in Syria and Iraq and has killed more than 11,000 Yemeni people in an unjustifiable war? Press TV’s ‘The Debate’ has discussed Washington’s double standards in its so-called fight on terror with Scott Rickard, former American intelligence linguist, and Jim Walsh, with MIT’s Security Studies Program.
Jim Walsh maintains that although Riyadh is supporting Wahhabism and extremist ideologies in the region, that does not necessarily mean that it cannot have counter-terrorism cooperation with Washington.
“Countries are complex and diverse and often there’s a right hand and a left hand that are doing different things,” the analyst said, adding that the notion that Saudi Arabia is supporting Wahhabi ideology, extremist groups in particular, is absolutely correct, but that does not prevent Saudi Arabia from coordinating with US intelligence agencies within the framework of a counterterrorism program.
However, Scott Rickard, the other panelist on the show, dismissed the comments by Walsh, stressing that the way the US is dealing with Saudi Arabia these days truly reveals Washington’s duplicity in its fight against terrorism.
“It is comical the way Mr. Walsh tries to defend the indefensible by saying that maybe they do supply terrorists but at the same time they are trying to fight terrorists,” Rickard joked.
“Obviously that same unfortunate excuse goes to the United States as well. The United States is absolutely funding terrorists and absolutely fighting terrorists. So, there’s a tremendous hypocrisy here. Obviously it is not carried in American newspapers because it’s a tremendously hot topic. It is a hot potato… nobody wants to be involved with a country that is sponsoring terrorism. Certainly the Americans don’t talk about their own sponsorship as well in the American news,” he noted.
The CIA’s latest move comes as many inside the United States consider Riyadh to be the main sponsor of the 9/11 attacks.
Last year, both chambers of Congress passed a bill dubbed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) to allow the victims’ families to sue the Saudi government in a US federal court over involvement in the attack which killed nearly 3,000 people.
Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers, who allegedly carried out the attacks in 2001, came from Saudi Arabia and available evidence suggests some of them were linked to high-ranking Saudi officials.