Even if the Saudi royal family?s latest pledge to cut off direct terror financing is genuine?a huge if, to be sure?one of the major revelations of the 9/11 commission?s recent interim report demonstrates (albeit indirectly) that it won?t make much difference.
Why? Because the 9/11 commission?s best estimate of the plot?s total cost is $500,000 ? 600,000, reaffirming something we?ve long known: terrorist acts are cheap.
What the House of Saud will never stop funding, though, is the environment that produces fertile fields for terrorist recruiters: the religious schools, mosques, and radical Islamic organizations that collectively constitute the infrastructure of terror.
Quite simply, it can?t. So it won?t?not now, not ever.
Given that Saudi Arabia is home to the two holiest cities in Islam, Mecca and Medina, it is understood that any government must have religious sanction to justify its existence. Twenty-five years ago, that almost came crumbling down.
After the Saudi government lost control of the Grand Mosque in Mecca in 1979, it struck a Faustian deal to win the support of radical Wahhabi clerics within its borders by becoming their sugardaddies in exchange for them legitimizing the regime.
Which brings us to today. Many Saudi apologists have recently offered the following rationalization: The Saudis have to be taken at their word, because how could they continue to fund those who seek to destroy them?
Easily?they have no choice.
It is entirely possible that the Saudis have been spurred to some degree of substantive action in fighting al Qaeda and even in blocking direct terror financing.
But what they cannot?and will not?do is reduce funding to madrassas (religious schools), mosques, and radical Islamic organizations like World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) and the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) that glorify Jihad and ?martyrdom.?
The indoctrination factory starts with small children, poisoning their minds even before they can read, radicalizes them further with Wahhabi mosques that foment both anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism, and gives their rage purpose with calls from groups like WAMY and IIRO to take up arms in the name of Islam.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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