Fissures in House of Saud

(UPI/Washington Times) Arnaud de Borchgrave - Al-Qaeda training camps have been discovered in the desert near several major Saudi cities, camouflaged as seminaries, with the pseudo-clerics doubling as instructors for training in both weapons and insurgency attacks. Internal security in Saudi Arabia is entirely in the hands of some 7,000 princes of the House of Saud who control all the kingdom's critical nerve centers, from air force squadrons to governors' palaces. So the horrifying conclusion is that certain princes sympathize with bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Bin Laden remains a legendary figure among Saudis, especially Wahhabi clergymen who get a hefty slice of the national budget and raise billions through the zakat, a 2.5% levy on income required by the Koran of all true believers. Since 1979, the Wahhabi establishment has spent an estimated $70 billion on Islamist missionary work, ranging from the funding of some 10,000 madrassas in Pakistan to the construction of thousands of mosques and seminaries and community centers all over the Muslim and Western worlds. Collaboration with U.S. efforts to shut down Wahhabi charities suspected of being conduits for al-Qaeda was, for the most part, tokenism.

2004-01-22 00:00:00

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