Saudi Interior Minister’s fund enriches al Qaeda’s war chest

Efforts have been underway in Washington in the run-up to the war in Iraq to improve Saudi Arabia’s standing in the eyes of the American public and repair some of the damage caused its reputation by the discovery that 15 of the 19 suicidal hijackers that carried out the 9/11 crime were Saudi nationals.
The current tenor of US official references to the oil kingdom is that the relationship has always had its ups and downs, but the two nations always overcame them in the interests of fruitful cooperation. To some extent, this change of attitude has filtered down to mid-level administration officials who report improved cooperation with government circles in Riyadh – especially American commanders and CIA officers in regular contact with the Saudis as the date for the offensive against Iraq advances.
At the same time, devastating reports have been published about the failure of the Bush administration to stem the flow of Saudi moneys to al Qaeda, despite their efforts in different parts of the world.
On November 8, DEBKA-Net-Weekly No. 84 carried an exclusive report exposing one corner of this elaborate funding machine.(To subscribe to DNW click HERE.
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif, appears to be jockeying for the next-in-line position for crown prince after his older brother, the defense minister Sultan, follows the incumbent crown prince, Abdullah. To this end, he has been currying favor with the more hard-line elements of the kingdom’s religious clergy.
What worries the Americans most about Prince Naif is not his bid for radical allies but his role as custodian of the multi-billion dollar Dawa (“Invitation to Islam” ie missionary) fund. This fund derives its income from donations from worthy Muslims intent on furthering the dissemination of Islam.
One senior Western intelligence source who keeps track of the Dawa money flow told DEBKA-Net-Weekly:
“Prince Naif is not involved in fund-raising. His people don’t go out and collect donations. But he certainly knows where the money is spent. His staff may contend that the money is going on spreading the word of Islam, on such worthy activities as education, health and social welfare – but a certain amount most definitely reaches the war chests of terrorist cells and networks, who exploit those pious causes to disguise their own.
The source reiterated that terrorism is best fought by drying up its financial resources. “The Saudi royal house must be made to stop the outflow of donations and charitable funds which, whether directly or not, are most certainly creamed off by the terrorists.”

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