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US senator says Saudi contributed to the rise of IS

US former Senator, Bob Graham has accused President Barack Obama's administration of repeating past mistakes by dealing softly with Saudi Arabia, especially following its role in supporting and financing jihadist groups.

In an interview with British the Independent newspaper, the senator, who co-chaired the official inquiry into September 11, accused Saudi Arabia of supporting IS indirectly, saying that Riyadh's support for Jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq has led to the rise of the Islamic State.

He pointed out that consecutive US governments have turned a blind eye to the Saudi support for Jihadist groups, saying: "I believe that the failure to shine a full light on Saudi actions and particularly its involvement in 9/11 has contributed to the Saudi ability to continue to engage in actions that are damaging to the US – and in particular their support for IS."

Graham, who served twice as Florida's Senator, said that ignoring the Saudi role and treating Riyadh as a trusted ally has contributed to the US intelligence agencies failure to detect the Islamic State's threat. "One reason I think that our intelligence has been less than stellar is that not enough attention was given to Saudi Arabia's fostering of Al-Qaeda-type jihadi movements, of which IS is the most notorious and successful."

Graham's criticism of his country's policy towards Saudi Arabia comes following President Barack Obama's announcement on Wednesday of a plan to build an international coalition which includes the Gulf countries as important allies in the destruction of IS.

Saudi Arabia announced it had agreed to train opposition fighters which fight against the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad at a military base in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia, Graham explained, provides support "to the most extreme elements" of the Sunnis in the world.

Graham's inquiry committee of the 2001 attacks issued a report pointing to the Saudi role in the attack where 15 out of the 19 attackers were Saudis.

However, the US showed protected its ally and failed to include 28 pages in the official report because they dealt with Saudi.

The senator called on the Obama administration to publish the omitted pages, saying the content does not threaten national security and therefore there is no justification for hiding it after 13 years.

He concluded saying that it is important to publish the pages because there is a "dark side" to Saudi Arabia which is exemplified in the September 11 attacks and beyond which the American public has the right to know.

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