Countering ISIL: Saudi Arabia’s Proactive Measures

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Saudi Arabia is one of the top nations combating terrorism and terrorist financing and has been functioning closely with its allies on all fronts. Saudi Arabia is tracking down the main, cutting off the money and eliminating the mindset that ISIS and other terror organisations create and rely on.

Saudi Arabia is the primary target of Daesh (ISIS), Now Known as ISIL and other terror groups, because it is the home of Islam and the house of the Two Holy Mosques. Saudi Arabia persists in expanding and intensifying its counterterrorism ambitions, as terrorism remains a significant danger to the safety and security of the citizenry and the global community. Saudi Arabia has encountered more than 60 terrorist invasions by Daesh and Al-Qaeda, more than 25 of them since 2015. More than 200 nationals and police officers have been killed in terrorist attacks. There has been a substantial increase in the rhetoric against the Saudi government by Daesh activists on social media networks.

Over the past decade, the Saudi government has significantly restructured its operations to handle national security dangers and prevent terrorist aggression. This includes locating and eliminating terrorists within the Kingdom.  KSA is a member of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, bringing military action in support of joining airstrikes in Syria. As of March 2017, Saudi Arabia has passed 341 sorties against ISIL in Syria, the second most significant number after the United States. In December 2018, Saudi Arabia reported donating $100 million for Coalition-supported stabilisation measures in liberated areas of Syria. 

According to the U.S. Department of State, “The Saudi government took a zero-tolerance perspective on ISIL, condemning its activities and partaking in coalition military measures to defeat the group in Syria and Iraq. Its external military effort against ISIL in Syria as a part of the U.S.-led coalition was complemented by an assertive campaign by both official clerics and King Salman to discredit the group and criticise its activities as acts of terrorism.” 

In December 2015, Saudi Arabia revealed the formation of a multi-nation Islamic Military Counterterrorism Coalition to fight terrorism, with a combined operations centre based in Riyadh. The Alliance consists of 41 member nations, and its inaugural conference was held in Riyadh in November 2017.  King Salman formed the Presidency of State Security to facilitate and enhance counterterrorism efforts in July 2017. The newly restructured agency integrated counterterrorism and intelligence functions under one entity and severed the body from the Ministry of Interior. The actions of the Presidency are under the direct supervision of King Salman.  

Saudi security forces have apprehended more than 300 foreign nationals in the last two years for involvement in terrorist actions with ISIL, stressing the Kingdom’s commitment to capturing the men behind terrorist plots.  In December 2017, Saudi Arabia committed $100 million to support the G-5 Sahel force to fight terrorism in West Africa.  In 2014, Saudi Arabia issued a royal proclamation on counterterrorism. The decree stated that ISIL activities and acts of terrorism, including membership in terrorist organisations and participation in hate outside the Kingdom, will not be tolerated.  

In 2011, Saudi Arabia signed an accord with the U.N. to establish the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Center. Saudi Arabia has committed $110 million to the centre to help improve its capabilities and effectiveness in assisting countries to fight terrorism. In addition to its struggles with the UNCCT, Saudi Arabia has maintained workshops on UN Security Council Resolutions via the Security Council’s Counterterrorism Committee. The Kingdom has closely corresponded with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the UN Monitoring Team on these initiatives.  

Saudi Arabia is fully committed to the implementation of all UN Security Council Resolutions related to the fight against ISIL and combating terrorism, including UNSC Resolutions. Additionally, Saudi Arabia is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, an international forum of 29 countries and the European Union working to prevent, combat and prosecute terrorist attacks.

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