May to decide whether to publish report about foreign funding of extremism

A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on April 5, 2017 shows Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud receiving British Prime Minister Theresa May in the capital Riyadh. (Photo by AFP)
A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on April 5, 2017 shows Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud receiving British Prime Minister Theresa May in the capital Riyadh. (Photo by AFP)

British Prime Minister Theresa May is yet to decide whether to publish details of a report about foreign funding of extremism in the UK with a focus on Saudi Arabia.

The outcome of the Home Office investigation is not yet released, which “leaves question marks over whether their decision is influenced by our diplomatic ties,” said the Green party co-leader, Caroline Lucas, as cited in a Guardian report, published Monday.

The probe was commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron and approved by May in December 2015, although she demonstrated a resolve to boost ties with Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf Arab states later.

Lucas and the Home Office both said this week that the British premier was personally responsible about whether to make the findings public.

“The review into the funding of Islamist extremism in the UK was commissioned by the former prime minister and reported to the home secretary and the prime minister in 2016,” claimed Home Office minister Sarah Newton. “The review has improved the government’s understanding of the nature, scale and sources of funding for Islamist extremism in the UK. Publication of the review is a decision for the prime minister.”

In her parliamentary question on the review’s whereabouts, Lucas called the delay “astonishing,” asserting that “the government is sitting on this report but refusing to publish it or give any reason for their continued secrecy.”

Since Saudi Arabia launched its brutal campaign against Yemen in March 2015, the UK government has approved arms export licenses to Saudi Arabia worth $4.1 billion, according to London-based Campaign Against the Arms Trade.

‘Very sensitive’ content

May’s nemeses, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, have both called for making the findings public.

According to Lucas, after recent terrorist attacks in Manchester and London, the British public is “quite rightly asking questions about routes to radicalization, and the funding of terror is central to this.

“I urge Theresa May to reveal immediately whose advice they are following as to whether or not to publish this report, and to do all they can to put the facts into the public domain if it is safe to do so.”

Cameron had committed to publishing the report by spring 2016, according to the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, but the Home Office later called its contents “very sensitive,” indicating that it would never be published.

Condemning London’s efforts to “kowtow” before the monarchy, he noted, “It is a scandal that the government are suppressing this report. The only conclusion you can draw is that they are worried about what it actually says.”

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“We hear regularly about the Saudi arms deals or ministers going to Riyadh to kowtow before their royal family, but yet, our government won’t release a report that will clearly criticize Saudi Arabia, Farron said. “All this government seems to care about is cozying up to one of the most extreme, nasty and oppressive regimes in the world. You would think our security would be more important, but it appears not. For that Theresa May should be ashamed of herself.”

Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes and subsequent blockade of impoverished Yemen has in part created a humanitarian disaster with Cholera on the rise while almost 3.3 million Yemeni people, including 2.1 million children, are currently suffering from acute malnutrition.

Over 12,000 Yemenis have been killed and thousands others injured Riyadh launched the aggression.

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