Time: March 31, 2019
- Governments should stop turning a blind eye to causes of resentment and anger, envoy tells UN
NEW YORK: Sadi Arabia’s ambassador to the UN, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, has given a speech to the UN Security Council in New York on “threats to international peace and security resulting from terrorist acts.”
In his address, in the wake of US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which Tel Aviv seized from Syria in 1967, Al-Mouallimi claimed that the occupation of territory by foreign powers was a contributing factor to international terrorism. He added that the recognition of occupations by the international community only fueled anger in oppressed communities.
Al-Mouallimi thanked the council for allowing him to address the session. He said that holding it was essential in the wake of the attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, where 50 people were killed by a white supremacist on March 15. He added that the attack demonstrated the effectiveness of organized terrorists existing even on small budgets and with limited resources.
Focusing on cutting off funding to extremists, he continued, was the most important aspect of tackling them. He highlighted the Kingdom’s own experiences in fighting Al-Qaeda and Houthi militias in Yemen, where, he explained, the “drying up of sources and funding” had proven highly effective in stifling various groups, as opposed to relying solely on military engagement.
Al-Mouallimi also cited Saudi Arabia’s pioneering role in fighting terrorists in cyberspace, where most fundraising now occurs, but also, increasingly, where extremist propaganda is disseminated and radicalization takes place.
In 2017, the Kingdom established a center for countering online extremist ideology alongside the US and a number of Gulf Cooperation Council members, in tandem with the UN Centre for Counter-Terrorism.
Al-Mouallimi stressed that initiatives such as this were essential if global terrorism was to be defeated, and that countries would have to set aside differences and work together, and view attacks on one as an attack on all, as with a conventional military alliance.
He also took the time to praise the council for the extensive series of sanctions it had placed on organizations suspected of involvement in the funding of groups like Al-Qaeda and Daesh.
Despite both remaining very real threats to peace, the two have been weakened in recent months in terms of manpower and resources, as a direct result of concerted UN tactics. Al-Mouallimi urged the council not to stop there, though, and to consider extending similar embargoes against the Iranian-backed Houthis and Lebanese group Hezbollah.
He concluded that, with the diversification of global terror, the Kingdom’s policy remained facilitating international cooperation. Shared knowledge, he said, was vital to identifying and stopping attacks and attackers well in advance, and by sharing data and information, security services would be able to prevent more atrocities like Christchurch from happening.