The US State Department lauded the efforts of Saudi Arabia in countering terrorism in the region, warning that ISIS continues to direct, enable, and inspire individuals to conduct terrorist attacks around the world.
In its “Country Reports on Terrorism 2019,” the State Department said that Saudi authorities worked closely with the US to implement counterterrorism commitments and to develop new capabilities to “monitor and counter extremist messaging.”
It indicated that the Kingdom focused on identifying pathways to terrorist radicalization and recruitment in order to promote a more comprehensive, collaborative, and proactive approach to countering violent extremism.
The report pointed out that Saudi Arabia is the first country in the Middle East that supported the US and international sanctions imposed on terrorist financing networks, with a focus on entities that support Iran and its proxies.
It indicated that the Iranian regime, along with its proxies, continue to plan terrorist attacks on the world, noting that Tehran, ISIS and al-Qaeda suffered major setbacks in 2019.
“As part of the maximum pressure campaign against the Iranian regime – the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism – the United States and our partners imposed new sanctions on Tehran and its proxies.”
In Africa and Southeast Asia, ISIS affiliates carried out attacks and inspired others to do so as well, according to the report.
It also noted that threats posed by racially or ethnically motivated terrorism, particularly white supremacist terrorism, remained a serious challenge for the global community.
It pointed out that this trend began in 2015 and continued with numerous deadly racially motivated attacks around the world in 2019, including in New Zealand, Germany, and the US.
The State Department’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Nathan Sales, said that removing Sudan or any other country from the list of "state sponsors of terrorism" requires the implementation of many measures and policies that ensure terrorism will not be supported in the future.
Sales told a news conference that the US sanctions are against the former regime in Sudan led by dictator Omar al-Bashir, adding that the current government needs to move forward with more stable and democratic operations that maintain human rights.
In response to a question from Asharq Al-Awsat about some countries violating international laws and financing terrorist groups, Sales said that the US wants to ensure that financing for terrorists is stopped.
He explained that the Iranian regime supported terrorist militias around the world rather than providing a better life for its citizens.
Sales asserted that the US will continue to designate terrorist entities and individuals, adding that this step yields positive results in controlling the money designated to support terrorists.
The official called upon the Taliban to respect its agreement with Washington, noting that the organization promised to cut all ties with terrorist groups, which will be monitored by the US.
He also addressed terrorism in Central Africa and al-Sahel, saying that this region is important, pointing that France wants to prepare these countries to confront terrorism with Washington’s help.