State Department Lauds ‘Strong counterterrorism relationship’ between Saudi Arabia and the United States

The U.S. State Department’s recently-released country reports on terrorism praised the U.S.-Saudi “strong counterterrorism relationship” and said “through a range of counterterrorism initiatives, many in partnership with the U.S. government, Saudi Arabia took tangible steps to strengthen its counterterrorism capabilities in border security, counter terrorist financing, and [countering violent extremism].”

“Based on local reporting, Saudi Arabia continued to see a reduction in the number of deaths attributable to terrorist violence as the government actively and effectively improved its counterterrorism readiness,” the State department report says. “Saudi Arabia remained a key member and active participant in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and co-leads the Defeat-ISIS Coalition’s Counter-ISIS Finance Group.  Saudi Arabia co-chairs the Riyadh-based Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC) with the United States, an initiative founded in 2017 to increase U.S.-Gulf multilateral collaboration to counter terrorist financing. Senior Saudi government and religious leaders issued strong public statements denouncing violent acts perpetrated by global terrorist organizations.”

The report noted that Saudi Arabia is itself a target of terrorist groups, and “continued to experience sporadic lone offender, ISIS-inspired attacks, primarily targeting Saudi security forces. ”

Saudi Arabia’s most significant physical border security concern continued to be the cross-border threats from Yemen, including terrorist infiltration, drug trafficking, contraband smuggling, and threats related to the ongoing conflict in Yemen, the State Department said.

On countering terrorist financing, the State Department said Saudi Arabia has “a strong legal framework to combat and deter terrorism financing,” and noted that the Kingdom sought to strengthen this framework in 2018.

[Click here to read the full country report on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from the U.S. State Department]