The spokesperson for the Saudi embassy in Washington, Fahad Nazer, responded to “worrisome and false” allegations being made by U.S. politicians against Saudi Arabia as the 2020 election cycle gears up.
Nazer sought to “set the record straight” especially on accusations connecting Saudi Arabia with Al-Qaeda made by longshot Democratic candidate, representative Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii. In comments made after the Democratic debate last week, Gabbard cited Trump’s “support and alliance with Saudi Arabia that is both providing direct and indirect support directly to Al Qaeda.”
“Saudi Arabia has experienced more than 60 terrorist attacks by ISIS & Al-Qaeda, more than 25 of them since 2015. More than 200 citizens and policemen have been killed in these attacks,” Nazer said. “Saudi Arabia is one of the primary targets of ISIS & Al Qaeda because it is the birthplace of Islam and home to its Two Holy Mosques. The Kingdom has confronted this threat head on & declared war against both terror groups.”
“Saudi Arabia has used every means at its disposal to hunt down the men, cut off the money and discredit the ideology that ISIS and Al Qaeda use to cause destruction around the world. The kingdom has captured many terrorist leaders, the most recent being ISIS’ leader in Yemen,” Nazer added.
Even before President Trump took office, the U.S. State Department lauded Saudi Arabia for its efforts in countering terrorism and fighting the so-called Islamic State terror group.
“The Saudi government took a zero-tolerance stance on ISIL, condemning its activities and participating in coalition military action to defeat the group in Syria and Iraq. Its external military action against ISIL in Syria as a part of the U.S.-led coalition was complemented by an aggressive campaign by both official clerics and King Salman to discredit the group and condemn its activities as acts of terrorism,” the 2015 U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism for Saudi Arabia said, which was published on June 2, 2016.
As Nazer also noted, several senior US counterterrorism officials who have served in both Republican and Democratic administrations have praised Saudi Arabia’s counterterrorism campaign and its intelligence-sharing with the United States.