The Saudi government is reportedly displeased by “charities” in the kingdom raising funds for the “children of Fallujah” — that is, Sunni Muslims, caught in the crossfire as Iran-backed Shiite militias battle the Islamic State in Iraq.
The Washington Post puts the disapproval expressed by Saudi Major General Mansour al-Turki, speaking to reporters at the Saudi embassy in Washington, in the context of Saudi Arabia’s “outreach and lobbying” after pressure intensified to release 28 long-classified pages from the 2002 report on the 9/11 attacks.
In other words, the Saudis are at pains to convey the message that they are cracking down on terrorist financing, which is often what happens when money is given to dubious “charities.” Al-Turki described the fundraising campaigns tied to the Fallujah crisis as “potentially fake.”
The Post reports al-Turki’s assurances that “Charitable solicitation or giving for any cause outside the country has been monitored by the government since 2004, and all private donations going abroad must use official channels.” The Saudi government’s push against terrorism financing has netted 226 arrests.
There is considerable concern about the fate of Sunni residents of Fallujah in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Gazette wrote this week of “clear evidence the Shiite militias who are accompanying the Iraqi regular army are torturing and murdering Fallujah citizens who fall into their hands during the slow advance on the city,” including “reliable reports, backed by video footage of the subsequent injuries,” of civilians being tortured.
“Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi is being urged to mount an immediate investigation. It can be expected with some confidence that even if such an enquiry ever actually takes place, its findings will be anodyne and if any human rights crimes are admitted, precisely nothing will be done about them,” the Saudi Gazette sneered.