September 16, 2019
 In 2024-Balancing Human Rights

Topic: 2024-Balancing Human Rights
Country: Saudi Arabia
Delegate Name: Charlisa Penzak

Special Political and Decolonization
Balancing Human Rights and Counterterrorism
Saudi Arabia
Charlisa Penzak
Groves High School

Since 9/11, Saudi Arabia has been crucial to counterterrorism efforts in the Middle East. Home to some of Islam’s most precious sites, like Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia has become the target of extremist terrorism like ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda has declared itself the enemy of Saudi Arabia, repeatedly calling for the assassination of top Saudi officials and releasing propaganda with Al-Qaeda’s black flag flying over Mecca. However, Saudi Arabia has been successful in thwarting AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) activities. For example, the 2010 AQAP Cargo Plane Bomb plot was neutralized due to vital Saudi intelligence measures. Having acceptable relations with the US, Saudi Arabia has become a base for US and western counterterrorism campaigns, particularly in Yemen. Saudi Arabia has been taking a lead, founding the Islamic Military Counterterrorism coalition (41 nations), pledging $100 million to fight terrorists in West Africa, and supporting UN efforts (launching and providing $110 million to the UN counterterrorism center and assisting UN Security Council workshops). Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is a member of the Global Coalition to counter ISIS, the largest contributor second only to the United Sates. Domestically, Saudi Arabia has been largely successful in counterterrorism, protecting critical infrastructure, and monitoring social media, and accessing private accounts when there is reasonable suspicion. Saudi Arabia would be happy to share the successful strategies with other countries. While it is a delicate balance to protect human rights, Saudi Arabia believes that countering terrorism should be a top priority because terrorism is a major driver of civil unrest and instability. Only once governments ensure security and mitigate terrorism can they focus on lifting surveillance in the name of human rights.

To counter terrorism, the committee must address a few key pillars: conditions conducive to radicalization, financing, travel, access to arms, and intelligence. By addressing these components, Saudi Arabia hopes to foster long term solutions. Multilateral cooperation is vital to share intelligence, monitor travel, and more — global issues require global solutions. Strengthening existing institutions can help them better tackle terrorist threats. Bold action is key to deter and stifle terrorist activity.

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