Made in Saudi Arabia: Salafist Radicalism in Africa

Hardline Islamist radicalism, nurtured by Saudi Arabia’s vast oil wealth, is spreading through Africa at a rapid pace. Radical Salafist and Wahhabist groups with names like Boko Haram, Seleka, and Uamsho, unheard of a decade ago, are massacring Christians during church assemblies, razing Christian villages, and assassinating moderate Islamic clerics. Of course, this Saudi-made mayhem is a godsend for the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), which can point to the spread of «Al Qaeda»-linked terrorism to Africa as a reason to increase America’s military presence on the continent and add armed muscle behind Uncle Sam’s quest for Africa’s oil, natural gas, and mineral resources…

While U.S. leaders like President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and others continue to kowtow to Saudi Arabia’s misogynist princelings, including the head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has ruled that families of the victims of the 9/11 attack can sue the government of Saudi Arabia for providing material support to the hijackers. In 2005, a federal judge dismissed plaintiff claims against Saudi Arabia ruling that Saudi Arabia enjoyed immunity from such claims pursuant to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. That decision has not been overturned by the federal appellate court.

The court ruling came shortly after former Florida Senator Bob Graham, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at the time of the 9/11 attack, once again called for the declassification of 28 pages of the 800-page «Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001,» issued by the Senate and House intelligence oversight committees in 2002. The blacked out 28 pages lays responsibility for the worst terrorist attack on American soil on the doorstep of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, particularly Prince Bandar and his Washington embassy. 

Prince Bandar and his wife paid the San Diego handler of two of the hijackers, Osama Bassnan, through an account at Riggs Bank in Washington. There are now bipartisan calls in Congress for the 28 pages to be declassified. However, the Saudis, who have close ties with the Bush oligarchy and the Israelis, can use their clout to suppress the «smoking gun» U.S. intelligence evidence against them.

It also behooves the American «deep state» to allow the Saudis to continue their support for terrorism because it gives the U.S. military and intelligence community as casus belli for continued military intervention in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia.

Saudi Wahhabist fingerprints are being found more and more behind the coordinated activities of anti-Christian and anti-Western Salafist groups in Africa. The Nigerian Salafist group Boko Haram, which has attacked Christian villages and moderate Islamic mosques throughout Nigeria and slaughtered Christian and moderate Muslim men, women, and children, made common cause with another Salafist group in Mali, Ansar Dine, in attacking moderate Tuaregs who took over control of northern Mali after a military coup deposed the country’s civilian leadership. Boko Haram, Ansar Dine, and Al Qaeda in the Maghreb began systematically destroying ancient UNESCO-protected shrines of Sufi Muslim saints in Timbuktu and other Malian cities. Ansar Dine pronounced the shrines «haram» of forbidden, according to Salafist dogma.

Boko Haram has also appeared on the scene in the Central African Republic where Muslim Seleka guerrillas helped topple the government of President Francois Bozize and installed one of their own, Michel Djotodia in power in a country where Muslims make up only 15 percent of the population. No sooner had Djotodia and Seleka cemented their hold on the government in the capital of Bangui, Seleka guerrillas began attacking Christians throughout the country, pillaging their villages. Bozize loyalists organized «anti-Balaka,» which means «anti-machete» because many of the Seleka Salafists wield machetes in killing Christians, including women and children. The arrival of 2000 French troops in Bangui did little to assuage the fears of the Christian majority in the country. The Saudis are also fond of blades in carrying out murder. The Saudi government’s preferred execution method for convicted criminals is a sword to the back of the neck on Riyadh’s infamous Deera Square, also known as «Chop Chop Square.»

Attracted by the nation’s oil boom, a large influx of Muslims from abroad have migrated to Angola to work in the oil infrastructure. When, at the end of November of this year Angolan authorities issued requirements for hastily-built mosques to comply with the country’s building registration laws, Salafist interests spread the rumor that Angola was banning Islam and indiscriminately closing mosques. The Angolan government denied the charge. 

The Angolan government announcement may have been too little and too late for the Angolan and other passengers, as well as six crew, aboard Mozambique Airlines flight TM470, which crashed in Namibia while en route from Maputo, Mozambique to Luanda, the Angolan capital. Investigators concluded that the Embraer 190’s captain, Herminio dos Santos Fernandes, tampered with the plane’s autopilot to deliberately crash the plane into the ground. However, investigators failed to consider that many Salafists decided to declare war on Angola after the false rumors were disseminated that Angola had «banned Islam.» 

The lessons of EgyptAir 990, which crashed in 1999 en route from the New York to Cairo, should have been germane. The captain of the EgyptAir Boeing 767 was said to have deliberately crashed his plane into the Atlantic in an act of suicide terrorism, killing all 217 people aboard. But many believe the plane had been tampered with and was used as a dry-run for the 9/11 attack two years later. The plane’s co-pilot, Gameel Al-Batouti was said to have commandeered the controls of the plane to commit suicide and mass murder in the same manner that Mozambique Airlines’s Captain Fernandes was said to have done with his aircraft en route to Luanda.

However, with the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, several members of Congress, and a federal judge all pointing to Saudi Arabia as the culprit behind the aviation terrorism of 9/11, a Saudi hand cannot be ruled out being involved in either the EgyptAir 990 or Mozambique Airlines 470 «suicide crashes.»

In Zanzibar, the Saudi-supported Salafists have taken a different tack. Saudi-financed local clerics have formed Uamsho, which has called for acid attacks on foreign tourists such as that committed against two 18-year old British female teachers last August. Uamsho, which is Swahili for «Awakening,» has also claimed credit for brutal acid attacks on Christian and moderate Muslim clerics. 

Saudi-backed Salafists have also attacked Christians in other parts of Africa, particularly in Egypt, Kenya, and Ethiopia. Bandar, the Saudi intelligence chief, reportedly warned Russia that Saudi Arabia would not hesitate to set loose Chechen and other Salafists on the Winter Olympiad in Sochi if Russia did not cut ioff aid to Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria. Saudi handicraft was also seen in Salafist bombings of St. Theresa's Catholic Church, outside of Abuja, Nigeria; Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church in Baghdad; and Saints Church in Alexandria, Egypt. In the case of the Alexandria bombing, Israeli intelligence was also fingered with the Saudis in the attack, an insidious alliance that legitimate researchers of the 9/11 attack have become all-too-familiar with. 

Saudi Arabia cannot escape responsibility for attacks on Christians, moderate Muslims, Shi’as, Ahmaddiyas, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, and others around the world. One of Saudi King Abdullah’s cabinet advisers in the Salafist Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah Aal al-Sheikh. The «holy man» urged his followers to blow up churches outside of Saudi Arabia. President Obama and his top officials, including CIA director John Brennan, have gone to great lengths to appease Saudi terrorism. If the United States truly wants to put a dent in international terrorism, especially in Africa, a couple of well-placed U.S. cruise missile strikes on a few Saudi palaces in Riyadh and Jeddah ought to do the trick.