It was an occasion for tears and celebration as the Knights of Martyrdom proclaimed on video: “Our brother Turki fell during the rays of dawn, covered in blood after he was hit by the bullets of the infidels, following in the path of his brother.” The flowery language could not disguise the brutal truth that a Saudi family had lost two sons fighting for Al-Qaeda in Iraq.The elder brother, Khaled, had been a deputy commander of a crack jihadist “special forces” unit. After his “glorious” death, Turki took his place.“He was deeply affected by the martyrdom of his brother,” the Knights said. “He became more ambitious and more passionate about defending the land of Islam and dying as a martyr, like his brother.”
Turki’s fervent wish was granted earlier this year, but another Saudi national who travelled to Iraq had second thoughts. He was a graduate from a respectable family of teachers and professors who was recruited in a Saudi Arabian mosque and sent to Iraq with $1,000 in travel expenses and the telephone number of a smuggler who could get him across the Syrian border.
In Iraq he was ordered to blow himself up in a tanker on a bridge in Ramadi, but he panicked before he could press the detonator. He was arrested by Iraqi police. In a second lorry, another foreign fighter followed orders and died.
King Abdullah was surprised during his two-day state visit to Britain last week by the barrage of criticism directed at the Saudi kingdom. Officials were in “considerable shock”, one former British diplomat said.
I’m *shocked* I tell you, *shocked* that such a thing could be happening in my country…..
Back home the king is regarded as a modest reformer who has cracked down on home-grown terrorism and loosened a few relatively minor restrictions on his subjects’ personal freedom.
Really? That crackdown needs some work.
Yet wealthy Saudis remain the chief financiers of worldwide terror networks. “If I could somehow snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Saudi Arabia,” said Stuart Levey, the US Treasury official in charge of tracking terror financing.
Extremist clerics provide a stream of recruits to some of the world’s nastiest trouble spots.
……Half the foreign fighters held by the US at Camp Cropper near Baghdad are Saudis. They are kept in yellow jumpsuits in a separate, windowless compound after they attempted to impose sharia on the other detainees and preached an extreme form of Wahhabist Islam.
…..The Bush administration is split over how to deal with the Saudi threat, with the State Department warning against pressure that might lead the royal family to fall and be replaced by more dangerous extremists.
“The urban legend is that George Bush and Dick Cheney are close to the Saudis because of oil and their past ties with them, but they’re pretty disillusioned with them,” said Stephen Schwartz, of the Centre for Islamic Pluralism in Washington. “The problem is that the Saudis have been part of American policy for so long that it’s not easy to work out a solution.”
……As long as foreigners were the principal targets, the Saudis turned a blind eye to terror. Even the September 11 attacks of 2001, in which 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, could not shake their complacency. Despite promises to crack down on radical imams, Saudi mosques continued to preach hatred of America.
The mood began to change in 2003 and 2004, when Al-Qaeda mounted a series of terrorist attacks within the kingdom that threatened to become an insurgency. “They finally acknowledged at the highest levels that they had a problem and it was coming for them,” said Rachel Bronson, the author of Thicker than Oil: America’s Uneasy Partnership with Saudi Arabia.
……last week in London, King Abdullah warned young British Muslims not to become involved with extremists.
Yet the Saudis’ ambivalence towards terrorism has not gone away. Money for foreign fighters and terror groups still pours out of the kingdom, but it now tends to be carried in cash by couriers rather than sent through the wires, where it can be stopped and identified more easily.
……Hundreds of Islamic militants have been arrested but many have been released after undergoing reeducation programmes led by Muslim clerics.
According to the daily Alwa-tan, the interior ministry has given 115m riyals (£14.7m) to detainees and their families to help them to repay debts, to assist families with health care and housing, to pay for weddings and to buy a car on their release. The most needy prisoners’ families receive 2,000-3,000 riyals (£286 to £384) a month.
Ali Sa’d Al-Mussa, a lecturer at King Khaled University in Abha, protested: “I’m afraid that holding [extremist] views leads to earning a prize or, worse, a steady income.”
……School textbooks still teach the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious antiSemitic forgery, and preach hatred towards Christians, Jews and other religions, including Shi’ite Muslims, who are considered heretics.
……In frustration, Arlen Specter, the Republican senator for Pennsylvania, introduced the Saudi Arabia Accountability Act 10 days ago, calling for strong encouragement of the Saudi government to “end its support for institutions that fund, train, incite, encourage or in any other way aid and abet terrorism”.
The act, however, is expected to die when it reaches the Senate foreign relations committee: the Bush administration is counting on Saudi Arabia to help stabilise Iraq, curtail Iran’s nuclear and regional ambitions and give a push to the Israeli and Palestinian peace process at a conference due to be held this month in Annapolis, Maryland.
The Saudis help stabilize Iraq??? It’s time we had an up close and personal talk with Abdullah and company. “Allies” don’t allow terrorist groups to be financed by people in their country, indoctinate their school children with visceral hate, or permit their clerics to espouse violence against the very United States they claim as ‘friend’.
The hoax has been perpetrated long enough.
Look, the only good aspect of Saudi ‘support’ in Desert Storm, was the tactic of using their fear of Saddam Hussein as leverage to use one terrorist nation-state against another. The Saudis are simply playing both sides; pretending to get tough while actually looking the other way as wealthy extremists continue to fund al Qaeda. The Wahhabists placate the rabid clerics and their followers because they’re scared shitless of a coup. Their “military” isn’t exactly reliable or prepared to defend in the wake of a massive terrorist uprising.
There’s also concern that if the Saudi royal family is overthrown, we may end up with something worse.
What is worse; their fear of Western influence, ( women’s rights, free speech, free elections of government officials) staving off extremists with appeasement, or the prospect of an even more totalitarian regime run by radical immams?
The choices aren’t pretty.