In rare criticism of crucial economic partners, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel urged Saudi Arabia to stop supporting religious fundamentalists all over the world.
The remarks come days after a report by Germany's intelligence agency, BND, suggested Saudi foreign policy was becoming a source of destabilization in the Middle East.
Although the German government initially distanced itself from BND’s accusations, it seems both are on the same page after all.
"We need Saudi Arabia to solve the regional conflicts," Sigmar Gabriel, the head of the Social Democrats (SPD), which shares power with conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel, told the mass-circulation newspaper Bild am Sonntag. "But we must at the same time make clear that the time to look away is past. Wahhabi mosques are financed all over the world by Saudi Arabia. In Germany, many dangerous Islamists come from these communities."
It has long been speculated that Saudi Arabia refrains from addressing extremism by groups such as Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, al-Shabab because they follow Wahhabism — an extremist form of Islamic ideology Saudi Arabia is rumored to have been sponsoring for five decades.
While completely disregarding these rumors, the West has been dealing with the Gulf kingdom in not just oil but also weapons.
Just last month, the U.S. State Department approved the sale of $1.29 billion in smart bombs to Saudi Arabia to help replenish military supplies, despite reports of possible war crimes in Yemen by Saudi forces.
American support of the conservative Islamic regime is increasingly being criticized by U.S. citizens, especially after it was revealed that Tashfeen Malik, one of the two terror suspects involved in the San Bernardino shooting that claimed 14 lives, spent most of her life in Saudi Arabia and was possibly radicalized there.
Yet, the U.S. administration under President Barack Obama hasn’t addressed the issue of international terrorism accusations against the oil-rich state — unlike Germany.