Saudi counterterrorism chiefs conduct Paris charm offensive

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Riyadh is often accused of being too tolerant of jihadist groups and is looking to change that image by becoming an exemplary actor in the fight against Islamist extremism.

At the end of March, Mohammed Bin Nayef, the kingdom’s crown prince, sent a delegation of several intelligence services to Paris to meet French politicians, journalists and high-level officials. The delegation was led by General Mansour Al Turki, the minister’s high-profile spokesman who mentioned on several occasions that, in his opinion, Saudi Arabia was one of the main targets of jihadists and Shi’ite terrorists.

He was accompanied by a handful of interior ministry and defence ministry officers including General Fahad Al Maghlouth, who works on terrorism finance, and Colonel Abdallah Al Shehri, who is a specialist on the fight against jihadists. Also with Al Turki were Wnyan Al Subaiee, the deputy director of the Mohammed Bin Nayef Centre for Deradicalisation.