Counter-Terrorism: Al Qaeda Homeland Evolves

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October 19, 2007: Saudi Arabian police have solved the murder of four French Moslems last February. The victims were gunned down by AK-47s, on an isolated road northwest of Medina, an ancient city full of Islamic shrines. No one took credit for the killings. But since then, police have arrested three suspects, and killed another. The dead man was on the list of wanted Islamic terrorists. The attacks appears to have been opportunistic. The nine French Moslems had taken a wrong turn, were lost, and simply appeared to be foreigners to the passing Islamic militants. Two of the militants opened fire with AK-47s, and then sped away.

While Saudi Arabia does not attract a lot of tourists, it would like to change that. What the kingdom does attract are over five million religious pilgrims each year, and the attack on the French Moslems was seen as a threat to all those foreign Moslems, especially the ones who stick around to visit other parts of the kingdom. Al Qaeda was founded by very conservative Saudi Moslems. So conservative that any foreigners in Saudi Arabia are seen as an insult to Islam. Al Qaeda is based on some pretty twisted thinking, even by Islamic standards.

Al Qaeda began carrying out terror attacks in Saudi Arabia after the U.S. Invaded Iraq in 2003. Saudis are conflicted about what is going on in Iraq. On one hand, they disapprove of Americans invading, but Saddam Hussein was seen as an embarrassment. Saddam was tolerated because he was a Sunni Arab strongman maintaining control over a largely Shia country. Saudi Arabia is the champion of Sunni Islam, which is practiced by about 85 percent of all Moslems. Iran is the champion of Shia Islam. To Sunni conservatives, who are a powerful force in the kingdom, Shia are heretics. That is not official policy, but it is a popular opinion in the kingdom.

Several al Qaeda bombing attacks quickly turned public opinion against the Islamic terrorists. Thus, having gained the cooperation of most Saudis, the police managed to kill, arrest or drive into hiding all al Qaeda members, and other Islamic terrorists as well. But not all the known terrorists have been captured. Some are believed to have fled the country, others have found kin willing to hide them inside the kingdom.

There is a lot of hate in the Arab world, and the Moslem world in general. This hate is all about who is to blame for the sorry state of Arab society. Arabs are well aware that they belong to a culture that has benefited the least from the post World War II economic boom. That fact was denied for decades, but now is obvious to all. Osama bin Laden and his followers blamed Islamic tyrants, and their infidel (non-Moslem) allies for this. Unable to overthrow the Islamic tyrants, bin Laden decided to go after the infidels. The Islamic tyrants were fine with this, and many of them, including Saddam Hussein, provided sanctuary and support for Islamic terrorists. And here we are.

 


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