Saudi Province Sows Seeds of Revolution

(Washington Times) John R. Bradley - Al-Jouf province bordering Iraq is the power base of the al-Sudairy branch of the Saudi royal family - which includes King Fahd and his six full brothers. But now there are signs of a rebellion by merchant families and tribes who were prominent before the al-Sudairys took over. Locals say that in the buildup to the invasion of Iraq, when U.S. troops took over the airport in Arar near the official border crossing with Iraq, many local officers resigned from the Saudi army in protest when they were temporarily relieved of their duties by U.S. soldiers, according to Saudi opposition groups. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Saudis have since sneaked across the border from al-Jouf to join the insurgency against U.S. forces in Iraq. Some have been implicated in suicide attacks, including the Aug. 19 attack that killed 22 persons at the UN headquarters in Baghdad. Recent violence in al-Jouf, including the assassination of the deputy governor and the execution-style killing of the police chief in the provincial capital, shows in microcosm what is happening throughout Saudi Arabia, where there is now near-universal domestic resistance to the rule of the al-Sauds.

2004-01-26 00:00:00

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