New Saudi attack ‘probable’
Britain’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia warned today that another terrorist attack in the kingdom was “probable”
<The president of OPEC> has said he is worried by the weekend attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry as it has pledged to help calm prices.
There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia is in the throes of an insurgency aimed at toppling its monarchical regime. It may not be as serious as the insurgency in Iraq, but it is likely to get worse. The militants are ruthless and smart, and the Saudi security forces are not up to dealing with them. Neither is their boss, Prince Nayef, the interior minister.
Is the US up to the task? I mean, once you get past the bluster and macho strutting of the Bushies, what have they done to stop al Qaeda? Not much I can see, except foam at the mouth about evildoers, something which makes nifty soundbites but doesn’t actually solve anything.
The leadership of al Qaeda are hardly ignorant peasants. A LA Times Op-ed yesterday said “A recent BBC documentary interviewed Bin Laden’s school pals, who remembered his charm, elegance and intelligence â€” shocking many viewers who apparently didn’t want to hear such things.”
Prince Nayef has run the interior ministry for almost 30 years, on supposedly Islamic principles which include extracting confessions through torture and executing people for numerous offences other than murder – such as witchcraft, adultery, sodomy, highway robbery, sabotage, apostasy (renunciation of Islam) and “corruption on earth”.
Hmm, and just why is it the US supports the corrupt, brutal Saudi regime, as well as Burma and Uzbekistan, when those countries are run by thuggish governments which are as vicious as Saddam ever was, if not more so. The answer, of course, is oil. Those countries permit US oil companies to do business with them, thus their torture of political opponents and suppression of human rights are barely mentioned by the US. Which makes a hollow mockery of the Bushies pretending to have invaded Iraq for “freedom.”
The problem is not just the way Prince Nayef runs his ministry. As much as anyone in the kingdom, he is responsible for creating and perpetuating a climate in which Islamic militancy can flourish, for suppressing liberal voices that could play a vital role in challenging extremism.
He is also in charge of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Suppression of Vice (the dreaded religious police) which, in the midst of the most serious security challenge the kingdom has ever faced, spends its time monitoring the length of people’s sleeves and the hairstyles of Saudi youths.
You can get five years in prison in Saudi Arabia for possession of a bible, compliments of the religious police. The religious fascism the US fears will form in Iraq already exists in Saudi Arabia.
By any standards, it is time for him to go. The trouble is, competence is not the main qualification for running the interior ministry. Because of his position in the royal pecking order, it is almost impossible to remove Prince Nayef without upsetting the delicate balance of factions within the ruling family. If he stays, though, it will be worse in the long run.
The choice for Saudis is a stark but simple one: tip Nayef overboard now, or sink with him later.
Ditto for Bush and the neocons. Here’s why –
Al-Qaeda winning: Asian analysts
The al-Qaeda network is winning the global war on terror, while Washington’s use of overwhelming force against Muslim extremists is creating a sea of hatred and is strategically flawed, Asian analysts said.
The director of Singapore’s Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Barry Desker, said al-Qaeda remained resilient and the use of force could not eliminate terror threats.
“The response cannot be a military one. This is fundamentally a US error,” he said, adding that the US-led war on Iraq and subsequent occupation had driven Islamic militants to wage jihad, or holy war, against Washington.