Saudi Arabia is the main sponsor of Islamic terrorism but the west is happy to sell ever more weapons to the Saudi regime. And New Zealand has been busy building closer economic ties with the Saudi monarchy.

ANOTHER ACT OF atrocity is committed, this time in the city of Manchester and we, naturally, recoil in horror at the images that flash across our television screens. And in the aftermath of the killings world leaders again denounce terrorism and resolve that we will remain united against the terrorists. They will not win, we are told.

Such were the messages we received from British Prime Minister Theresa May and from President Donald Trump.

But, only two days ago, Trump  boasted of the $110 billion arms deal his administration had made with Saudi Arabia. $110 billion is the immediate figure - over the next decade the deal will eventually be worth $350 billion to the United States. Trump sent his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to meet Lockheed Martin CEO Marilyn Hewson in order to negotiate a 'discount' for the Saudi regime.

Since the deal was struck the share prices of the three major U.S. defence contractors have rose to all-time highs.

Britain also does well out of selling arms to Saudi Arabia. In 2015 83 percent of all UK arms supplies went to that country.

Yet it is Saudi Arabia that is the main sponsor of Islamic terror. This occurs in two ways. One through direct financial funding by wealthy Saudis. But even more prevalent is the way that Saudi Arabia determinedly promotes its  extremist Wahhabi-Salfi interpretation of Islam through Koranic schools, mosques, clerics and even the internet and social media.

So-called Islamic State is a branch of Saudi religious extremism. So while western leaders like Trump and May denounce acts of terrorism they continue to supply Saudi Arabia, the breeding ground for Islamic terrorism, with ever more weapons.

But Donald Trump has tried to claim that Iran is a sponsor of terrorism, echoing the view of King Salman of Saudi Arabia who has described Iran as “the spearhead of global terrorism.” Trump is now copy pasting Saudi talking points on Iran. Everything is Iran's fault. Always.

And we cannot pretend that New Zealand is an innocent by-stander in this ugly travesty. While we may not sell arms to Saudi Arabia we have cultivated closer economic ties with the Saudi regime. And that means we have turned a blind eye to not only its appalling human rights record but its role in supporting terrorism throughout the world.


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