Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

President Trump walks past Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 Summit Meeting Center, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 30, 2018. Photo: Ralf Hirschberger/picture alliance via Getty Images

Recent policy and trade commitments by Saudi Arabia — like its multimillion-dollar Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology (Etidal) and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s modernization plans — have been seen as signs that the kingdom is moving away from the extremist positions of its past.

The big picture: The murder of Jamal Khashoggi, however, belies the notion that substantive change has taken place, and has spurred calls for the U.S. to re-evaluate its relationship with Saudi Arabia on economic policy, human rights, counterterrorism, and especially support for extremism.

Background: The "us versus them" ideology responsible for radicalization and the rise of terror groups stem from a multi-decade, Saudi-directed campaign to proselytize Wahhabism — a strident, monolithic interpretation of Islam. The kingdom supplied a majority of the 9/11 hijackers, for example, and the second-greatest number of ISIS recruits.

In addition to suppressing dissent and flouting international norms, the royal family has continued to support extremism abroad. In India, which by 2050 will host the world's largest Muslim population, they are funding mosques and training imams to reconfigure historic religious practices along Wahhabi lines.

U.S. policymakers and business leaders could use the backlash over Khashoggi’s murder to demand that Saudi Arabia take actions to end its support for extremism:

  • Provide a no-strings-attached grant for establishing a coalition of NGOs focused on global efforts to counter violent extremism. The Etidal center is a start, but more such facilities are needed.
  • Halt financial support for terrorism and online Wahhabist content.
  • Commit to retraining Saudi-taught imams under the age of 40 by a diverse body of Islamic scholars.

Saudi Arabia could also be urged to comply with a vast array of recommendations from congressional testimony, think-tank reports and the State Department to counter violent extremism. Reforming textbooks and overhauling the country’s multi-layered influence on “global Islam” — through Quran translations and mosque patronage — continue to be common refrains.

The bottom line: Within the kingdom, the crown prince has emerged unscathed by the Khashoggi affair and hopes to maintain control of the narrative. But amid international pressure, the U.S. now has an opportunity to draw clear red lines with the Saudis around radicalization and terrorism.

Farah Pandith, author of "How We Win," is a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the former Special Representative to Muslim Communities at the State Department.

Go deeper

California wildfire explodes in size, destroys historic town

Battalion Chief Sergio Mora looks on as the Dixie fire burns through downtown Greenville, Calif. on Aug. 4, 2021. Photo: Josh EdelsonAFP via Getty Images

The small Sierra town of Greenville, California, was heavily damaged on Wednesday night into early Thursday as the Dixie Fire surged northward amid high winds, extremely dry air and hot temperatures.

The latest: The Dixie Fire, California's biggest blaze, continued to threaten communities in Plumas County into Thursday night, as more mandatory evacuation orders were issued in the region.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Top labor leader Richard Trumka dies unexpectedly at 72

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who led the largest federation of unions in the country for over a decade, has died at 72.

The big picture: Trumka began working as a coal miner in 1968 and would go on to dedicate his life to the labor movement, including as president of the 12.5 million-member AFL-CIO beginning in 2009.

Biden signs bill awarding Congressional Gold Medals to officers who responded to Jan. 6 attack

President Biden, joined by Vice President Harris, lawmakers and members of law enforcement and their families, signs legislation to award Congressional Gold Medals to law enforcement in the Rose Garden. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Biden signed legislation awarding Congressional Gold Medals to the law enforcement officers who defended the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Why it matters: The Congressional Gold Medal is Congress' "highest expression of national appreciation," notes the New York Times.