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New York Times tackles the complex story of Saudi Arabia spreading influence and problems

New York Times tackles the complex story of Saudi Arabia spreading influence and problems

Soon after I started contributing to GetReligion last year I posted a piece that ran under the headline: "Do American newspapers have the time, space and patience to cover Saudi Arabia?" I concluded that more meaningful coverage of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), as the petroleum-rich monarchy is formally known, was needed for Americans to better understand the Middle East's interrelated array of serious problems.

I'm sure my post has nothing do with it, but I'm pleased to now write that The New York Times in recent months has published a series of probing, in depth stories on the KSA that should be required reading for all.

For religion and international affairs reporters in particular, Saudi Arabia is a critically important story to follow. That's because if for no other reason, global Muslim terrorism is a deadly, ongoing phenomenon that has no end in sight.

And guess what. The KSA's brand of deeply conservative Islam known as Wahhabism is one reason for this brutal chaos.

Journalists should learn all they can about the kingdom's exportation of Wahhabism throughout the Muslim world, including its influence on the Islamic State (ISIS), Al Queda and other jihadi groups.

The Times is as well positioned as any elite, international newspaper -- and, seriously, how many are in its league to begin with? -- to report the breath of the KSA's often negative impact on global affairs.

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