Combatting Terrorism and Terror Financing
International terrorism threatens the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its allies and the global community. Defeating the terrorist enemy requires sound policies, concerted government efforts and international cooperation.
The late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz called for the establishment of an international center to combat terrorism more than 10 years ago out of his firm belief that terrorism can be most effectively fought when nations work closely together in all areas, including the sharing of information.
In 2005, Saudi Arabia hosted the historic Counter-Terrorism International Conference in Riyadh where more than 55 countries participated and during which the proposal for the establishment of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) was unanimously adopted. In 2008, King Abdullah pledged $10 million to the United Nations to establish the Centre and, in 2011, Saudi Arabia signed an agreement with the U.N. to launch the UNCCT. In 2014, King Abdullah provided the Centre with a donation of $100 million to enhance its capabilities and effectiveness in helping countries combat terrorism. Also in 2014, King Abdullah issued a royal decree on counterterrorism. The decree reinforced that acts of terrorism, including membership in terrorist organizations, and participation in hostilities outside the Kingdom, will not be tolerated.
In December 2015, Saudi Arabia announced the formation of a 34-state Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism, with a joint operations center based in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia continues to undertake effective initiatives in support of countries combating terrorism around the world. Examples include:
- Lebanon – Saudi Arabia donated $1 billion to Lebanese security services to combat terrorism. This aid is separate from the $3 billion Saudi Arabia pledged to Lebanon in December 2013 to strengthen the capabilities of the nation’s armed forces.
- Yemen – Saudi Arabia is the largest donor of aid to Yemen. Its aid has helped the country enhance counterterrorism training and expanded Yemen’s expertise and intelligence collection in order to combat the spread of terrorism.
- Iraq – Saudi Arabia contributed $500 million to the Iraqi people, regardless of religion or ethnicity, in order to help the Iraqi people overcome the hardships they have endured and to help thwart the spread of extremism.
- Saudi Arabia has also provided financial support to other countries, including Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Mauritania to help enhance counter-terrorism capabilities.
Combatting Terror Financing
Terror networks thrive on illicit funding, often hiding behind charitable organizations. To combat this threat, Saudi Arabia has put in place one of the world’s strictest financial control systems to prevent funds going to support terrorism.
- All Saudi financial institutions have implemented the 40 recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of the G-8 regarding money laundering and the eight recommendations regarding terror financing.
- Saudi charities are prohibited from transferring money abroad. The collection of cash contributions in mosques and public places is prohibited.
- The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) offers programs and has implemented a technical program to train judges and investigators on legal matters involving terrorism financing and money laundering methods, international requirements for financial secrecy, and methods exercised by criminals to exchange information.
- Saudi Arabia works closely with the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Australia and other allies to combat terror financing on a global scale.
The latest developments in the Kingdom’s crackdown on the financing of terrorism are covered in the factsheet ‘Combatting Terrorist Financing‘ (published 18 July 2016)