The King of Saudi Arabia is more interested in having ISIS occupied with fighting the West, because if it gets well established it is going to take over Saudi Arabia, an expert on Muslim studies Mohamed Ghilan told RT’s program In the Now.
RT: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah argued that terrorism should not be neglected, otherwise ISIS would spread into Europe and then to the US. What is your opinion on these warnings from the Saudi King?
Mohamed Ghilan: I think the warnings are more productive as concerned internal political circumstances. King Abdullah is interested in having security and peace while there is a transition between his rule to the next King-to-come Salman bin Abdulaziz, but he just wants to keep all the problems outside of Saudi Arabia while that happens.
RT: Do you think Saudi Arabia could bear some responsibility for what's happening in Iraq and Syria now?
MG: They do, they have an interesting relationship with IS/ISIS and allow further funding from private individuals to go to these organizations, when they are still receiving the donations. At the same time they quell it if it is internal, so they support it externally and suppress it internally.
RT: What kind of threat does the rise of the Islamic State pose the Saudi regime?
MG: The biggest threat for them is the disgruntlement among the local populace with the corruption of the monarchy itself, so they offer an alternative. In addition to the lack of legitimacy that is seen now with the scholarly elite, a lot of the people in Saudi Arabia look at the scholars now as just scholars for the sultans. They facilitate fatwas for them to benefit their rulers, but when it comes to benefitting the population that’s not the common fact. Religion is used as something to oppress the population and benefit the ruling elite.
RT:Are Europe and the US in danger of imminent terror attacks?
MG: The threat is imminent but it is not to the extent that the King is making it sound to be, he is more interested in having ISIS occupied with fighting the foreign forces from the West because if they get really well established and they feel secure, their goals, and they actually state it very clearly, is to march all the way to the capital of Saudi Arabia and take over.
RT: What can the EU and US leaders do to prevent this threat?
MG: I think [as for] the focus on the military interventions, history will show that it is not going to be the answer. This group has an ideology behind it and if that ideology is not tackled… But a lot of people do not realize that ISIS put a lot of effort into spreading propaganda, intellectual material, that they use the Islamic tradition to basically give legitimacy to what they are, coming from an Islamic prospective. So far all that we have heard from Muslim scholars is just a condemnation but without any intellectual engagement and just a call for a military intervention. Well, it was a military intervention by the US and Western forces that went into Iraq that created the vacuum that allowed the rise of this group. So if they go in again, all of this can happen and if they try to quell them this will create another group that could be even more monstrous than this one.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.