Monday, September 5, 2016

Analysis: Wahhabi propaganda; proselytism or geopolitical goals?

"Analysis: Wahhabi propaganda; proselytism or geopolitical goals?"

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Supporting fanatical and extremist conservative movements such as Wahhabism, Salafism, and Deobandi - from the Southern Asian region - has been at the center of Saudi Arabia’s efforts for preserving its international and regional position. Perhaps, for the Saudi government, these actions are more related to the soft power. And maybe this is more of an existential struggle rather than a form of proselytism for the Saudis. Saudi Arabia’s focus on extreme conservatism, and its investment on similar worldviews -especially in Southern Asia- has allowed this country to rely on issuance of their own interpretations of Islam.
Since the second World War, the highest amount of public diplomacy in South Asia, has been allocated by Saudi Arabia; even more than Russia and the US. Saudis’ actions in the region have also had the most devastating effects.
Basically, the scope of Saudi activities goes beyond Salafist groups. Since they are not only related to proselytization, but are also related to soft power and geopolitical matters. These activities include, financial support for building mosques, cultural institutions, school networks, universities, publishing books, dissemination of Wahhabi literature in different languages, as well as distributing the works of scholars of various fanatic and extremist movements.
For further establishment of its activities, the Saudi government has formed various institutions. The Muslim World League, and other branches operating under it, such as al-Haramain, which was dissolved due to its connection with the September 11 attacks, or supposed Islamic universities in Medina, Malaysia, and Pakistan are part of those institutions. Saudi Arabia is funding all of them. Saudi Arabia’s method in controlling these institutions is Laissez-faire. In the way that the Saudis are rarely involved in management or direct supervision of these foreign institutions; with the exception of the Islamic University of Islamabad. ...
Within the last decade, rivalry with Iran could be seen very clearly in Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy. Rising power of Iran, following the regional developments since 2005, has altered Saudis’ mentality to compete with Iran. Saudi Arabia is also using extremist groups as a leverage against Iran, on a regional level. ...

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