Al-Qaeda and the House of Saud

(FrontPageMagazine) John R. Bradley - Riyadh's fight against terrorism since May 2003 has provided a facade for behind-the-scenes moves to strengthen the role of the Wahhabi religious establishment, with whom the al-Saud rules in effective partnership. Saudi leaders, in their eagerness to prove their Islamist credentials in the face of charges of being U.S. puppets, have empowered a number of clerics who are not overtly critical of the terrorists - indeed, on occasion, quite the reverse. The Saudi chief justice, Saleh bin Muhammad al-Luhaidan, who also holds the rank of government minister, has been accused of instructing Saudis on how to fight U.S. and Iraqi troops in Iraq in the name of Allah. An October 2004 recording distributed by a Washington-based Saudi dissident group has Luhaidan speaking at a mosque in Riyadh, advising a group of Saudis who wanted to join terrorist organizations in Iraq to be careful when entering the country because U.S. planes and satellites may be monitoring the borders. He says those Saudis who do enter Iraq will not be punished by the Saudi security forces and insists that money raised for the jihad must go directly to those who will launch attacks. The flow of Saudi jihadis to Iraq benefits the al-Saud regime in the short term, at least in the sense that, if they are blowing themselves up in Baghdad, they will not be doing so in Riyadh. Yet, there is potential for long-term blowback, just as there was when the "Afghan Arabs" returned from Afghanistan in the 1990s.

2005-09-16 00:00:00

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