Can the Saudis Sever Ties to Terror?

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 18, 2003 | Go to article overview
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Can the Saudis Sever Ties to Terror?


Byline: Clifford D. May, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The latest suicide-terrorist attacks once again raise this question: Are the Saudis the enemies or the allies of al Qaeda? The answer, frustratingly, is both.

We know al Qaeda is a largely Saudi organization and that 15 of the 19 suicide terrorists on September 11 were Saudi. We know Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia's state religion, openly and enthusiastically supports al Qaeda's Jihadist ideology.

So why would al Qaeda launch an attack on Saudi Arabia? First, it was not an attack on Saudi Arabia, it was an attack on Westerners in Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden has never targeted Saudi leaders or diplomats.

But while al Qaeda does not seek to kill Saudi Royals, it doesn't mind embarrassing them, exposing them as hypocrites for preaching Wahhabism at home, while drinking, gambling and cavorting with infidels abroad - and, perhaps worse, relying on infidel soldiers to defend them.

Second, Saudi Arabia may be the one of the very few nations left where al Qaeda can still operate relatively freely - thanks to the support it enjoys among leading Wahhabi clerics and within the highest ranks of the Saudi government. In other words, al Qaeda may have attacked Westerners in Saudi Arabia because it was convenient, not because it was strategic.

The latest attacks also demonstrate - yet again - that al Qaeda and other Jihadist terrorists hate Americans not for what we do, but for who we are.

After September 11, you'll recall, al Qaeda communiques cited three reasons for targeting New York and Washington: (1) the presence of infidel American troops on what Osama bin Laden considers holy Saudi soil; (2) the sanctions that were causing the Iraqi people such terrible suffering; and (3) the plight of Palestinian Arabs.

Today, American troops are leaving Saudi Arabia - though not, as bin Laden hoped, with their tails between their legs, but rather with their mission (protecting the Saudis from Saddam Hussein) accomplished.

The sanctions on Iraq have yet to be lifted, but Washington is doing all it can to remedy that. At this point, any violent protests against the sanctions really should be directed at the obstructionists in Paris and Moscow.

As for the Palestinians, they now have a "road map" that can lead to statehood - if they are willing to finally give up terrorism and accept the existence of a Jewish nation as their permanent next-door neighbor.

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