In October of 2013, SOFREP reported that Saudi Arabia had effectively threatened Vladimir Putin with terror attacks at the upcoming Olympic games if Putin did not withdraw support from the Assad regime in Syria.

In a bid to topple the Assad regime and weaken the long-standing Sunni-Shia divide currently fought by Saudi Arabia and Iran, Saudi Chief of Intelligence Prince Bandar had “pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad regime [was] toppled, but also hinted [that] Chechen terror attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi [were also possible] if there was no accord.”  This claim is significant because as SOFREP has previously reported, the terror threat at Sochi remains high in light of recent Islamist terror attacks in the region.

The purpose of this article is to examine the plausibility behind Prince Bandar’s statements and provide evidence of Saudi support for terrorism, as well as to highlight the known connections between Saudi Arabia and Chechen-based terrorists, a crucial threat given the upcoming Olympics set to kick off this week.

The Saudi Connection

For starters, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has long and often been accused of maintaining more-than-questionable connections with various Salafi jihadist terrorists around the world, some more direct than others.

According to the Cato Institute, the Saudi government was the “principal financial backer of the Afghan Taliban since at least 1996, has channeled funds to Hamas and other terrorist groups active in Israel and the Middle East, and has funded various schools and charities throughout the Islamic world.”  This support has continued through at least 2010, when classified US government documents regarding Saudi support for terrorism were leaked.

Chechen Islamists from the Moscow Siege, courtesy of the Kavkaz Center

The leaked State Department cables noted that Saudi Arabia “is the world’s largest source of funds for Islamist militant groups…and remains a critical financial support base for AQ, the Taliban, LeT, and other terrorist groups.”  It is clear that Saudi Arabia remains willing to harness its generous financial disposition to provide the most significant source of funding for Sunni terrorist groups worldwide, a problem the US has long attempted to control behind closed doors.

This support, as SOFREP has previously reported, has manifested itself in the ongoing war in Syria, largely the result of the Sunni-Shia rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.  Due to the fact that little headway had been made to overthrow the Assad regime, Saudi Arabia chose to leverage the security of the Olympic games in Sochi as a bargaining chip to get Russia to come to the table.

What was their angle?  Of course, the Chechens.