Shaking the Kingdom. (Editorials)
The suicide attacks in Riyadh, which Saudi officials blamed on Al Qaeda, were barbarous acts. They are also tragic reminders that despite US military victories and recent triumphalist claims of the Bush Administration, the terrorist threat has not been eliminated.
Rather, we are witnessing the opening of a new chapter in what is likely to be a protracted struggle over the future of the Persian Gulf region. Much of the Arab world views the United States as a neocolonial power, an occupying force coveting their oil, hostile to their interests and openly biased toward Israel and its brutal occupation of Palestinian lands. A determined minority see us not only as imperialists but also as infidels despoiling Islamic holy sites and propping up reprehensible regimes like the Saudi monarchy. Though they may be comparatively few in number, their anti-American agenda draws wide support among the populations of the Saudi kingdom, Kuwait and Iraq.
Significantly, one of the bombers' targets was the headquarters of Vinnell, a Virginia-based consulting firm. Since the 1970s it has trained the Saudi National Guard, which protects the ruling family from its subjects. Not only is Vinnell a US company; it is a quasi-official arm of the US government and thus a direct link to the Saudi rulers. Although the Bush Administration would like Americans to believe that Muslim terrorists hate us because they envy our way of life, in reality they despise our policies--primarily, US support of the corrupt Saudi regime, unilateral occupation of Iraq and uncritical backing of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The major flaw in the Bush Administration's current antiterror strategy is its primary reliance on militarism and unilateralism, emphasizing approaches like "regime change" and "pre-emption" by US armed forces. …