US commends Saudi Arabia’s role in countering terrorism

US commends Saudi Arabia’s role in countering terrorism
US commends Saudi Arabia’s role in countering terrorism

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Saudi Gazette report

WASHINGTON — The United States has commended Saudi Arabia’s continued efforts to combat extremist ideology, calling the Kingdom a key partner in Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh (so-called IS).

In an annual report on terrorism that provides a detailed review of the US and partner efforts to defeat and degrade terrorist organizations, the US acknowledged Saudi Arabia’s key role in countering violent extremism through effective coordination.

According to the US report, in 2019, Saudi Arabia continued to identify counterterrorism as one of the nation’s top security policy priorities.

Saudi authorities worked closely with the United States to implement counterterrorism commitments and to develop new capabilities to “monitor and counter extremist messaging.”

Saudi officials remain eager to enhance defense and security cooperation and expand engagement with the United States, including on countering violent extremism.

Regular high-level consultations and cooperation with the United States played a crucial role in the Saudi government’s ability to manage domestic and regional terrorism threats.

Saudi Arabia maintained adequate legal frameworks, security forces, and institutional preparedness to combat “extremist threats.” Attacks by Iran and groups it sponsors or supports on Saudi Arabia, including Iranian attacks on oil processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais on Sept. 14, 2019, spurred Saudi efforts to defend its territory against Iranian‑backed terrorism.

Saudi Arabia remained a regional leader in countering terrorist financing, leading efforts within the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center on anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing measures.

On the multilateral front, Saudi Arabia worked closely on capacity building efforts to increase regional cooperation, minimize duplication of efforts, enhance information sharing, and address border security gaps.

Saudi leadership worked to advance counterterrorism cooperation with Muslim-majority states, including through the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition. Saudi Arabia participated actively in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and provided significant support in facilitating US military operations in the region.

To promote a more comprehensive, collaborative, and proactive approach to CVE, Saudi activities focused on identifying pathways to terrorist radicalization and recruitment; and countering these by government messaging that emphasized nationalism, rejected intolerant ideologies, including those based on religious interpretations, and cultivated appreciation for Saudi culture and heritage as the basis for national identity.

Saudi Arabia’s ideological approach to countering terrorist propaganda also included family outreach initiatives; integration of gender considerations in countering violent extremism work; and public messaging campaigns to amplify moderate voices in mainstream media, mosques, Islamic organizations, community centers, and prisons, to curb the appeal of “radical ideology” and to counter “extremist messages.”

The government also encouraged inter-religious and inter-ethnic dialogue through religious conferences and visits that brought Saudi religious scholars together with their counterparts from other faiths to promote dialogue and tolerance across world faiths.

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