RECOGNIZING THE CENTRALITY OF THE U.S.-SAUDI RELATIONSHIP TO THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM
(Extensions of Remarks - April 05, 2017)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E456]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




RECOGNIZING THE CENTRALITY OF THE U.S.-SAUDI RELATIONSHIP TO THE FIGHT 
                           AGAINST TERRORISM

                                 ______
                                 

                          HON. EDWARD R. ROYCE

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Wednesday, April 5, 2017

  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, as Major General Ahmed Hassan 
Mohammed Asseri made clear in a recent op-ed, the relationship between 
the United States and Saudi Arabia is central to the fight against 
terror. Together our two countries are responding to the serious threat 
from ``Da'esh'' (ISIS) and other terrorist groups, Iran's continued 
support of terrorism, and the violent messages of religious extremism 
emanating from some quarters of the Middle East.
   Gen. Asseri's support for intelligence-sharing is a clear 
recognition that countering these threats goes beyond the battlefield. 
We are appreciative of Saudi efforts to block the flow of funding to 
terrorists, weakening their capacity to perpetrate atrocities against 
innocents around the world. We note with enthusiasm efforts by Saudi 
Arabia to counter the messages of violent extremism that draw 
vulnerable young people into the grasp of these terrible groups and 
applaud efforts to address the challenge of rehabilitating convicted 
terrorists.
   We are hopeful that the Saudi-led Islamic Coalition Against 
Terrorism will play an increasingly important role in both the fight 
against ISIS and efforts to push back against Iran's destabilizing 
activities in the region. Nowhere is this more relevant than in Yemen, 
where Saudi Arabia has suffered both military and civilian casualties. 
It is imperative to push Iranian influence out of Yemen, expedite 
humanitarian assistance to Yemenis suffering through this conflict, and 
develop a coherent, long-term political framework through which the 
country can move forward.
   The United States values Saudi Arabia as a partner, and we are 
committed to working together in the fight against terror.
   I include in the Record the recent editorial by General Asseri.

                   [From FoxNews.com, March 26, 2017]

 My Country Supports America's Tough Stance Against ISIS, Terror, and 
                                  Iran

                   (By Ahmed Hassan Mohammed Asseri)

       Published March 26, 2017 (FoxNews.com)
        Leaders from 68 countries gathered in Washington for a 
     meeting of the Global Coalition to Counter Daesh (ISIL) 
     hosted by President Trump's administration this past week.
        Saudi Arabia welcomes the new administration's attention 
     to the Middle East and its support for America's friends who 
     are fighting back against transnational terrorists such as 
     Daesh and pushing back against Iranian interference in 
     countries such as Yemen.
        As Americans would say, ``You've got our back.'' And 
     America's support is indispensable as we stand together 
     against a host of threats to regional stability.
        While meeting with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin 
     Salman--an architect of our country's economic, social, and 
     governmental reforms--at the White House recently, President 
     Trump enthusiastically endorsed the modernization drive that 
     will make our country an even more valuable strategic 
     partner. Similarly, our government welcomes the United 
     States' long-standing support of the Saudi defense forces.
        The new administration is also toughminded about the 
     Iranian threat to regional stability, which was magnified by 
     the recent nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, 
     including the United States.
        Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA director Mike 
     Pompeo each describe Iran as the world's largest state 
     sponsor of terrorism, while Vice President Mike Pence has 
     called the nuclear agreement ``a terrible deal.''
        Saudi Arabia is prepared to work with the United States 
     and its allies to restrain Iranian conduct, just as we have 
     helped to stabilize the Arabian Gulf and its energy supplies 
     since World War II. While the US-Saudi partnership is time-
     tested, reaffirming this relationship is a matter of 
     strategy, not sentiment. Since the Global Coalition's 
     founding three years ago, Saudi Arabia has been an active 
     partner from Day One, including sending fighter jets to the 
     Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey to join the US-led air 
     campaign against Daesh in Syria.
        On the financial front, Saudi Arabia works closely with 
     the United States to cut off funding for Daesh and Al Qaeda. 
     Through real-time information-sharing, we cooperate with the 
     United States to shut down the flow of funds from western 
     banks to Middle Eastern extremists.
        To ensure that charitable contributions don't subsidize 
     terrorism, we prohibit Saudi mosques and aid organizations 
     from transferring money outside our country.
        We have also taken strong steps to stop unauthorized 
     shipments of military equipment from leaving Saudi Arabia and 
     to prevent people from crossing our borders to join Daesh in 
     Iraq or Syria.
        Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is mobilizing the Muslim world 
     against the extremist threat to our religion. Under Saudi 
     leadership, the 41-nation Islamic Coalition is equipping our 
     countries to fight violent extremists by training our 
     security forces and sharing information and intelligence.
        Last March, in the largest joint military exercise ever in 
     the Middle East, some 350,000 soldiers, 20,000 tanks and 
     2,500 warplanes from 20 countries joined together in ``war 
     games'' in the Saudi desert to jointly train our security 
     forces for operations against non-state armed groups.
        Turning from the battlefields to the battle of ideas, the 
     Islamic Coalition is encouraging educators and scholars as 
     well as religious and political leaders to raise their voices 
     against those who preach violence. Moreover, Saudi Arabia has 
     created a center which operates 24/7 to analyze social media 
     to identify and track terrorist efforts to recruit and 
     activate new followers.
        But non-state armed groups and radical preachers aren't 
     the only threats. By conducting ballistic missile tests last 
     month and meddling in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, the Sinai 
     Peninsula and even the Gulf States, Iran is imperiling the 
     stability of our region. Even more disturbingly, Iran is 
     sharing ballistic missile technology with the extremist 
     Houthi militia in Yemen and similar groups in other 
     countries, thereby imperiling the security of the entire 
     region.
        In Yemen, which shares a 1,100-mile border with Saudi 
     Arabia, Iran is supporting and arming the Houthi militia, 
     modeled on the terrorist Hezbollah movement that has 
     destabilized Lebanon. While making Yemen ungovernable, the 
     Houthis are attacking Saudi Arabia, having fired more than 
     40,000 mortars, rockets and other projectiles at our towns, 
     killing at least 375 civilians, closing more than 500 schools 
     and displacing 24 villages and over 17,000 people.
        In January, three Houthi suicide boats rammed a Saudi 
     frigate off the western coast, killing two crew members and 
     injuring three others.
        Responding to this threat, Saudi Arabia leads a coalition 
     of 12 countries fighting to reinstate Yemen's legitimate, 
     internationally recognized government and restore peace and 
     security to the country.
        To be sure, Saudi Arabia prefers to promote stability 
     through peaceful means, as we do by providing much-needed 
     diplomatic and economic support to strategic allies such as 
     Egypt and Jordan. But aggression, active destabilization and 
     acts of terrorism, including Iran's infringements in Yemen, 
     demand a military response.
        From the Cold War through the War on Terror, the U.S. has 
     helped Saudi Arabia strengthen our defenses through joint 
     military training exercise and ballistic defensive weapons 
     sales, making our country the largest customer of U.S. 
     military equipment.
        Today, we're working with the United States and its allies 
     to defeat Daesh, Al Qaeda and Iranian-sponsored extremism and 
     expansionism.
        We stand shoulder-to-shoulder for a secure and stable 
     Middle East in a peaceful and prosperous world.
        (Major General Ahmed Hassan Mohammad Asseri is an adviser 
     to Saudi Arabia's Defense Minister.)

     

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