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Saudi Grand Mufti calls ISIS “part of the Israeli army” - by Bruce Riedel

The most senior cleric in Saudi Arabia has called for greater Islamic cooperation against the Islamic State, while also labeling ISIS a "part of the Israeli army." The revealing interview this week with Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Sheikh provides important insight into the Wahhabi establishment, which is the core partner of the House of Saud.

The Mufti praised the creation of an Islamic military alliance to fight terrorism, promising the alliance will defeat the Islamic State, which he labeled a heretical and un-Islamic movement. The new alliance is the brainchild of Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Prince Muhammed bin Salman, the king’s favorite son.

The 72-year old cleric was asked about comments made by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State, that the new alliance is not serious because it is not "killing Jews and liberating Palestine." Al-Baghadi called the new Saudi-led alliance a pawn of the United States and Israel, promising that the "tanks of the mujahideen are moving closer to Israel day after day."

Both the Mufti's remarks and al-Baghdadi's illustrate that Israel remains the hot button issue in the Kingdom. If you want to smear your enemy, label him a stooge of Israel.

Read more: Saudi Grand Mufti calls ISIS “part of the Israeli army” | Brookings Institution

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