Royal Crackdown: Saudi Arabia's September 11

By Walsh, John | Harvard International Review, Fall 2003 | Go to article overview

Royal Crackdown: Saudi Arabia's September 11


Walsh, John, Harvard International Review


On the night of May 12, 2003, four explosions targeted at Westerners rocked the Saudi capital of Riyadh. In the months following these attacks, the ruling Al Saud family has demonstrated new levels of vigilance and self-scrutiny and some recognition of the serious economic and social problems that pervade every level of Saudi society. This may be the start of a period unprecedented in Saudi history.

Addressing these social and economic troubles will be a mammoth undertaking. The Al Saud have ruled the Arabian desert for 80 years by a combination of often brutal political repression, alliances with tribal leaders and ulama (religious scholars), and control of the world's largest supply of oil. Since the so-called "Islamic Awakening" following the 1991 Gulf War, however, Islamic fundamentalism has quietly burgeoned in the country's mosques, in the private homes of prominent Saudis, in exiled communities in London and elsewhere, and (more recently) in Internet chatrooms. Inevitably, some of this renewed religious zeal has been channeled into militant opposition to the Saudi regime, which has always infuriated many Muslims for its close ties to the United States and the decidedly un-Islamic lifestyles of royal family members. Saudi rulers recognized that their state held the potential for an enormous Islamic opposition, and that May 12 was the first strike in a war that could one day topple them.

The Al Saud are survivalists, and their reaction was swift. Security forces, trained by and working closely with the United States, hunted down and killed the infamous Al Qaeda leader Swift Sword, wanted in connection with the bombings, before the month was out. In the ensuing months, nearly every week has brought reports of spectacular clashes between security forces and other Saudi Al Qaeda cells, including the very public July 2003 suicide of cell leader Turki al-Dandani when security forces surrounded him outside a mosque in Al-Jawf. In all, the Ministry of the Interior claims it has arrested over 600 militants since May 12. The government has also seized almost unfathomable amounts of explosives and munitions, suggesting that violent oppositionists had (and possibly still have) an arsenal capable of posing some threat to the Saudi defense forces. This push to restore security will continue, as the Al Saud recognize the severity of the threat to their stability.

Even more significant has been the public relations war the rulers have waged. While Saudi Arabia has suffered terrorist attacks before, attacking civilians in the land of the Two Holy Places has always been a risky proposition for anyone hoping to win the hearts and minds of average Muslims, and the May 12 attacks seem to have aroused public ire. Crown Prince Abdallah has been quick to condemn terrorism in any form and stress that Muslims as well as foreigners lost their lives in the bombings. Addressing the country one day after the attacks, Abdallah declared that "the whole Saudi nation, young and old, women and men, stand shoulder to shoulder in condemning this heinous act. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Royal Crackdown: Saudi Arabia's September 11
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.