December 8, 2006The Associated Press is reporting from Cairo that private Saudi citizens are giving millions of dollars to Sunni insurgents in Iraq and much of the money is used to buy weapons, according to Iraqi officials and others.
The U.S. Iraq Study Group report said Saudis are a source of funding for Sunni Arab insurgents. Several truck drivers interviewed by reporters described carrying boxes of cash from Saudi Arabia into Iraq, money they said was headed for insurgents. Two high-ranking Iraqi officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said most of the Saudi money comes from private donations, called zaqat, collected for Islamic causes. In one recent case, an Iraqi official said $25 million in Saudi money went to a top Iraqi Sunni cleric and was used to buy weapons, including Strela, a Russian shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile. Saudi officials vehemently deny their country is a major source of financial support.