New Senate Intelligence Chairman Wants More From Middle East Allies

January 18, 2015 9:09 am  

(The Hill) – A top Senate Republican said Sunday that if U.S. allies in the Middle East don’t do more to help in the fight against terrorism, they should face consequences.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said countries such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have contributed to the rise of al Qaeda and that the United States should apply more pressure to convince them to end their involvement with terrorism.

“I dare say that if they’re not willing to help us in that partnership, then there ought to be some kind of ramifications from it,” he said.

Burr suggested nations must stop teaching radical ideology to their youth and ensure that they and the U.S. are pursuing similar policies for the future.


“They have been a contributor to the funding since al Qaeda was created, a lot of the Middle Eastern countries have,” Burr said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“Hopefully our administration is reaching out to them, as is the global community, to say things have to stop, you have to quit funding terrorism,” Burr said.

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.) said he agreed with Burr that terrorism isn’t a war between Christianity or Islam or the East and West.

“When you have these kinds of actions inside Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, it perpetuates this myth that is indeed the fight that is going on,” Murphy said.

He argued that, for decades, Saudi Arabia has been funneling money to groups that fund Islamic jihadists.

Murphy also said Pakistan has employed similar efforts in providing financial backing to radical elements.

“So we’ve got to have some hard conversations with our allies in the coming weeks and days,” Murphy said.

“We’ve let it go on for far too long and now that we realize the reality, the danger, the immediacy of this threat to the United States and to our allies, I think Republicans and Democrats can come together and say, ‘listen time is up, we need to see some progress.’ ”

Murphy said Pakistan, which receives money from the United States, could see the consequences from its involvement in funding terrorism.

Saudi Arabia plans to publicly flog a blogger on charges of insulting Islam in an online forum.

A group of senators has called for a halt to the punishment.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, a Christian woman has been sentenced to death for blasphemy.

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