Along came Arab donors for Mahathir, Anwar

 |Jan 9, 2017
Former premier Mahathir Mohamad (right) and once his deputy Anwar Ibrahim received loads of Arab funds during their time in the government.
Former premier Mahathir Mohamad (right) and once his deputy Anwar Ibrahim received loads of Arab funds during their time in the government.

Back in 2015, Mahathir Mohamad said he does not believe that the Arabs would be so generous as to donate RM2.6 billion to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Actually the Arabs are more generous than that and they have been so for 40 years since the 1970s.

In fact, Mahathir himself has benefited from such donations, as has Anwar Ibrahim even before he joined Umno in 1982.

Saudi Arabia has a policy of buying friends all over the world and it spends billions doing this.

It especially needs friends like Malaysia, Sunni countries that are anti-Shia.

The Saudis would spend whatever it costs to promote Sunni Islam and to isolate or demonise Shia Islam.

Malaysia fits that bill perfectly.

Humanitarian aid budget

Let us review some of the reports that have been published about this matter.

In November 2004, Leo Barasi from Oxford University wrote a paper titled ‘Saudi Arabia’’s humanitarian aid: a political takeover?’, where he said:

Saudi Arabia has one of the largest humanitarian aid budgets in the world.

The three most prominent Saudi charities, the Saudi Red Crescent (SRC), the IIRO and al Haramain, are closely linked to the royal family.

Other charities have greater financial independence, but still remain associated with the royal family.

The general supervisor of each of these committees is Prince Naif, the interior minister and another full brother of King Fahd.

The full scope of the work of Saudi charities is difficult to trace accurately since they do not have a tradition of formally reporting their activities.

However, anecdotal evidence indicates that both IIRO and al Haramain were active throughout Africa and Asia until 2003.

At least until the mid-1990s, the IIRO was seeking to be impartial in its aid provision.

More recently, it has worked principally in Muslim-dominated countries.

“Be that as it may, the kingdom is one of the top donors in the world and has been so since the 1970s. In fact, and according to the UN Statistical Report for 2014, Riyadh was the sixth largest donor worldwide. More than 90 countries benefited from this largesse, including Sri Lanka and India,” said Dr Joseph A. Kechichian on Aug 31, 2016, author of the just-published book From Alliance to Union: Challenges Facing Gulf Cooperation Council States in the Twenty-First Century (Sussex: 2016).

US President Barack Obama and Saudi King Salman during a summit meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on April 20, 2016 ... pic Reuters.
US President Barack Obama and Saudi King Salman during a summit meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on April 20, 2016 … pic Reuters.

US presidential campaign funding

Saudi Arabia financed more than 20% of the cost of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for presidential elections, Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Salman was quoted as saying in a news report by the Jordanian Petra News Agency on June 13, 2016.

“Saudi Arabia has always sponsored both Republican and Democratic Parties of America and the kingdom also provides with full enthusiasm 20% of the cost of Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the US presidential elections despite the fact that some influential forces within the country don’t have a positive look toward supporting the candidate because she is a woman,” the agency’s report quoted Prince Mohammed as saying.

As recently as two years ago, Saudi Arabia’s half century-long effort to establish itself as the main power among Arab and Islamic states looked as if it was succeeding.

A US State Department paper sent by former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in 2014 and published by Wikileaks spoke of the Saudis and Qataris as rivals competing “to dominate the Sunni world”.

On Thursday, the US administration offered Saudi Arabia $115 billion in arms sales.

The proposal, which includes training, weapons, tanks and other war equipment, is the highest during Washington’s decades-long alliance with the monarchy.

Jatras says the arms sales figures show the level of corruption in the United States, adding that the Riyadh regime spends money on a lobbying campaign to “buy political influence” among American policy makers.

Lavish gifts

Saudi Arabia’s monarchs are “bestowing” lavish gifts upon US President Barack Obama and his associates in a bid to buy more influence in the White House, an American political analyst says.

According to the latest annual accounting report by the US State Department, the former Saudi Arabian King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud and other high-ranking Saudi officials showered the Obamas with more than $1.3 million in gifts throughout 2014.

Faisal bin Hassan Trad, the permanent representative of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations Office in Geneva, said the Kingdom has been the most generous country in the world in the field of development and humanitarian aid over the past four decades.

“Saudi Arabia donated, during this period, more than $115 billion to more than 90 countries all over the world,” said the Saudi ambassador to the UN. – Malaysia Today

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Raja Petra Kamarudin or RPK, cousin to the Selangor Sultan, is one of Malaysia's earliest online 'citizen journalists'. He started his website in 1995 before the internet 'explosion' triggered by the Reformasi movement in September 1998. Malaysia Today was launched as a blog in August 2004 and is one of the few pioneer blogs still active and posting articles on a daily basis 24-7. RPK, 66 years old, has been writing since 1990.