Has Riyadh funded extremists?

Has Riyadh funded extremists?

The former US ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, said in his book titled 'The Envoy: From Kabul to the White House, My Journey Through a Turbulent World' that Saudi Arabia has funded Islamic extremists for many years.

In the past, when the EU raised the issue of funding Islamic extremists with the Saudis, all they got were denials. In the course of meetings with King Salman, Crown Prince Nayef, Deputy Crown Mohammad Bin Salman and several ministers, one top Saudi official admitted to the former ambassador, “We misled you".

Khalilzad explained that Saudi support for Islamic extremism started in the early 1960s as a counter to Nasserism — the socialist political ideology that came out of the thinking of Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser — which threatened Saudi Arabia and led to war between the two countries along the Yemen border. 

"We did not own up to it after 9/11 because we feared you would abandon or treat us as the enemy. And we were in denial,” the Saudi senior official conceded.

"In their current thinking, the Saudis see Islamic extremism as one of the two major threats facing the kingdom—the other threat being Iran," Zalmay Khalilzad wrote.