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#172077 - Fri May 16 2003 05:37 PM Saudis Pledge Better Security
chelseabelle Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Thu Oct 07 1999
Posts: 10282
Loc: New York USA
May 16, 2003
Saudi Official Says the Kingdom Is Redoubling Security Efforts
By REUTERS


Filed at 1:49 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The triple suicide bombings in Riyadh were a ``massive jolt'' to Saudi Arabia and the kingdom is redoubling efforts to beef up security and crack down on al Qaeda extremists, a senior Saudi official said on Friday.

Addressing a news conference, Adel Al-Jubeir, foreign policy adviser to Crown Prince Abdullah, criticized unnamed U.S. officials who have questioned the kingdom's anti-terrorism moves and challenged them to make their complaints publicly and directly.

Four days after attacks blamed on Saudi-born Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network killed 34 people, most foreigners, Al-Jubeir acknowledged that security had been inadequate and described his country as angry, sad and ``sorry for not having been able to win this battle in the war against terrorism ... (The attacks were a) massive jolt.''

But he insisted Saudi Arabia has been and will continue to be a strong ally of the United States in the anti-terrorism war.

``We will do whatever we need to do in order to confront and destroy the organization and the people who did this. This will not stand,'' he said.
http://nytimes.com


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Yeah, yeah. Anyone really believe they will crack down on Al Qaeda?

Or, does the fact that this one occurred in their own backyard, really make a difference?

May 16, 2003
Saudis Are Shaken as Jihad Erupts at Their Front Door
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, May 15 The mourners came pouring in to the wealthy Khozama neighborhood by the hundreds over the last three nights, the younger men kissing the deputy governor of Riyadh on the forehead as a Bedouin mark of respect, his peers bussing him on the cheeks. "May God extend his condolences," they murmur.

The deputy governor's son, Muhammad, was killed in the bombing of an upscale residential compound, struck down on Monday with such force, his father Abdullah al-Blehed said, that the first time he touched his son's mangled corpse lying on the sidewalk, he did not recognize his own firstborn.

"Those people who say they want to make jihad against the United States or Israel, what they did is pointless," said Mr. Blehed, a part owner of Al Hamra, the compound where his son died. "Jihad is not like this."

Many Saudis are reeling from the deadly explosions in the eastern suburbs of this sprawling capital, in part because at least seven of the victims were natives, and the 15 attackers probably were too. In recent years, terror attacks around the world, although carried out in the name of Islam, the faith born here, seemed distant. Jihad was something that happened elsewhere.

"This time it was different: it was an attack against your own people," said Khaled M. Batarfi, the managing editor of Al Madina, a daily newspaper. "It's huge; it's organized. It's like what happened on Sept. 11 in America but on a smaller scale these things happen to others."

The gory scenes of charred bodies spread across their newspapers and on television are disturbing in a way other recent terrorist attacks were not.

"If this was not the Saudis' Sept. 11, it was certainly the Saudis' Pearl Harbor," said the United States ambassador, Robert W. Jordan.

Of course there had been attacks here before. At least a half-dozen bombs planted under cars in recent years killed three expatriates and maimed several others. Americans were the main victims of both the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers and a 1995 attack on a Saudi National Guard center.

Saudis, however, felt secure in their own country. Now they are not so sure.

"We're moving," said Fahd al-Blehed, 27, Muhammad's brother and his neighbor in the compound. "Those people can do anything."

It was only in recent years that Saudis started living in compounds, long a preserve of Westerners. Muhammad, 29, was a typical local resident. After spending five years in the United States, graduating from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo with a master's degree in public administration, he came home. He followed his father into both the Riyadh government and the family real estate and transportation business.

Life in the compounds is not unlike any California community college. Some of the tennis courts are air-conditioned. Swimming pools abound. Al Hamra boasted some 15 among its 428 villas, town houses and apartments. The five most expensive mansionettes, which rented for $10,000 per month, each had its own.

The Saudis who lived there and 70 percent of the residents were Saudi tended to be married to foreign women or have spent some years abroad. The compound was out of bounds to the religious police, sniffing for moral turpitude. Women could move around unveiled. Men could wear their soccer shorts.

When he was out walking with his wife, Fahd said, "Nobody would ask me, "Who is she? What is she doing with you?' "

Some expect the attack on Saudis who had adopted a Western lifestyle was done on purpose. "In their belief, there is no difference, because those people are befriending the infidels," Mr. Batarfi, the editor, said.

On the night of the attack, Muhammad was eating dinner with four friends, his family said. One was the son of another shareholder in the compound, another a lawyer. When they heard gunfire at the nearby gate, Muhammad ran for home, where his 2-month-old twin daughters had been left with a nanny. He never made it. His body was found some 10 yards from where a Chevrolet pickup truck packed with explosives was detonated.

The explosion also killed all his dinner companions, Muhammad's relatives said. It leveled some 25 houses. A total of 100 will need to be rebuilt. It tore the roof off the gym of the British School in the compound and wrenched doors off their hinges in another compound a few hundred yards away.

As their father describes the attack, Fahd and his younger brother Faisal, 25, tear up. With the sadness comes anger about security lapses. Fahd said the owners asked for more security for the front gate but the government provided only one armed man in a jeep the government holding a monopoly on carrying guns.

"That won't do much against a bunch of guys trained in Afghanistan," Fahd said, making a sudden fist. "The government has to be harder on them, especially the religious people who are even brainwashing young children in mosques."

The need for a crackdown has been a common theme here this week. The country's newspapers, especially Al Watan, have been waging a campaign pointing out that it is not that great a leap from criticizing women as infidels for opening sports clubs to declaring open season on anyone fitting that description.

The newspaper used to get only hate mail for such sentiments, said its editor, Jamal Khashoggi, but it has now started receiving supportive missives, demanding a crackdown on the radicals.

Before this week, many Saudis, and especially those in government, tended to paint fanaticism as something foreign. This week, the usual statements about events "strange to our society" were absent.

The creeping recognition that it is something homegrown has made Saudis more jittery, not least because the Web sites beloved of the radical fringe are predicting more to come.

When a helpful Saudi took an undeniably Western reporter on a drive through Riyadh, the man's elderly father called to make sure the visitor had not provoked an assault.

"The thinking is: `If I go to school tomorrow, will anything happen to me? If I drive by this compound will it explode? If I go someplace with a Western friend will I be attacked?' " Mr. Batarfi said.
http://nytimes.com
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Well, it does give them a whiff of what Israelis live with,
and why Americans are fighting a war on terrorism. Perhaps the shoe being on the other foot will have some effect--even if the only motivation is self-interest.
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#172078 - Fri May 16 2003 06:10 PM Re: Saudis Pledge Better Security
snm Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Thu Jan 30 2003
Posts: 901
Loc: Israel
I especially liked this part:
Quote:

"Those people who say they want to make jihad against the United States or Israel, what they did is pointless," said Mr. Blehed, a part owner of Al Hamra, the compound where his son died. "Jihad is not like this."



Oh the horror! This is not proper, good Jihad! Jihad is only supposed to happen to Americans and Israelis! This is evil Jihad!

It's really a case of fanatics battling even worse fanatics. I was actually rather surprised this week when I learnt a bit of the history of the conflict:
Arabia's Civil War
Chaos in Saudi Arabia
_________________________
"Talk is cheap, arms are not"- Victor Davis Hanson

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#172079 - Fri May 16 2003 06:53 PM Re: Saudis Pledge Better Security
chelseabelle Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Thu Oct 07 1999
Posts: 10282
Loc: New York USA
So, why did this bad jihad occur? Because it was the fault of the Jews, of course. How else could such a thing happen....

Saudis Confront Fear and Resentment in Wake of Attacks

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 16, 2003; 3:25 PM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, May 16 -- At the first Friday prayers since the attacks on three Riyadh residential compounds that killed at least 34 people, Saudis today heard strong condemnations of terrorism as an evil force that must be eradicated. At the same time, some clerics described Israeli and U.S. actions in the Middle East as a form of terrorism that helped inspire the attacks.

The message in the mosques reflected sentiments often heard in conversations with Saudis. The attacks have shaken people here, who question whether the royal family has done enough to combat terrorism inside the kingdom. But many also have continued to express belief that Israel, and by extension the United States, are responsible for fostering the resentment that has spawned such acts here and elsewhere around the region.

"When Jews are attacked by Palestinians, the American government makes a big deal about this," said a middle-aged man emerging from noon prayers at a Riyadh mosque who identified himself only as Abdul Belah. "But when the government of Israel makes attacks with American airplanes, they give an excuse for what the Jews did."

By waging war against Iraq, the United States is "making terrorists under the excuse of looking for terrorists," Belah added.

At the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest site, Sheik Salen bin Abullah bin Humaid decried terrorists as deviants who commit a double sin of killing innocent people and killing themselves. Saudi Arabia, he said, "will not accept that Islam is to be attacked and discredited due to some extremists."

In Medina, the religion's second most venerated city, the imam of the central mosque there also condemned terrorism as a violation of Islamic teachings. But, he added, "Muslims are also requesting the West to punish those who commit terrorist acts against Palestinians and to guarantee their right to live in peace and dignity in their homeland."

A similar message was delivered by Mazin Rajin, an Islamic cleric who gave the noon sermon at the Abu Bakr Mosque in east Riyadh. He told more than 400 worshippers that the nation was being tested for its beliefs in the crisis and that the "nation should revise its policies and accept advice from other people." He described terrorists as "mentally twisted and unstable" whose deeds were against human nature.

Citing announcements made earlier this week by a number of Islamic cleric organizations, Rajin recalled passages from the Koran, the Muslim holy book, to make the case that terrorists violate Muslim law and are doomed to hell. "When you kill a person intentionally, hell is the penalty," Razin declared, even if that person is not a Muslim. "Heaven is forbidden for a Muslim who kills a non-Muslim intentionally."

But Razin also said the reason for the attacks rested in the "injustice our Muslim brothers are facing around the world, in Chechnya, Palestine and Iraq." He equated the "individual and group terrorism" practiced by the attackers with the "state terrorism" of Israel, which he said "steals, rapes, kills and burns with no control at all."

Rajin also warned that the government must be careful not to create another reason for terrorist attacks by suppressing dissent. "Arresting and interrogating might function as a painkiller, but terrorism will come back after that," he said.

Increased security since Monday night's suicide bombings has unnerved Riyadh residents. Saudi soldiers and other armed guards today set up new checkpoints, searched cars and questioned drivers at numerous locations across the city, causing bumper-to-bumper traffic.

The Abu Bakr Mosque, built in 1998, mostly serves worshippers in the upscale Al Mursalat neighborhood. As the call to prayer began in 106 degree heat, some men stopped to purchase small sticks of miswak, a root of the Arak tree that they rubbed on their teeth to clean them and freshen their breath.

Several of the worshippers said they were resentful of the U.S. media's portrayal of the Saudi people and angry at toughened visa requirements that require fingerprinting upon arrival. "You are a brave man, coming to the heart of terrorism," one man told a reporter, pointing to the mosque.

Many worshippers echoed Rajin's linkage of the terrorist attacks to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One man, married to an American, said he has been afraid to return to the United States since the Sept. 11 attacks because he is Muslim and expressed doubt Muslims actually committed the bombings on the residential compounds.

"I don't think it was an internal act. No Muslim would do such a thing," said the man, who after some prodding said he could be quoted as Abdul Abdullah. "I think the Jews are behind it. It has something to do with politics and nothing to do with Islam."

"Israel is the source of terrorism in the world," said another man, who would only give his first name of Ibrahim. "Why is every attack that happens in the world terrorism, but when it happens in Israel it is not terrorism?"

But Abduh Hamid Tonaijri, an elderly white-bearded worshipper with a degree in Islamic studies, said Muslims "are getting punished for something we've done" -- and that he felt "there will be more to come."

U.S. officials have described the bombings as an attack not only on the United States but also the Saudi government. U.S. Ambassador Robert Jordan said there was a "very clear suggestion that this attack was aimed at undermining the government as much as it was aimed at American interests."

The Saudi government, recognizing the threat, has dismissed several hundred clerics in the past six months for preaching radicalism, far more than officially announced, U.S. officials said. There are about 100,000 imams in Saudi Arabia. The Abu Bakr Mosque has been the site of some radical sermons in the past, but today's sermon by Mazin, who is not the regular cleric, appeared to be in the mainstream.

The head of a medical department at a prestigious hospital said terrorism has been inspired by U.S. policy in the Middle East and also U.S. support of governments in the Arab world that are not democratic, such as Saudi Arabia. "People see us as sheep in a fence driven by the interests of the regime," said the doctor, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Mohammad, because of his criticism of the government.

He was interviewed in his spacious house -- with a "men only" entrance -- as a servant offered dates and Saudi coffee with the scent of roasted cardomen and saffron.

He said that Saudis do not believe President Bush when he says he is seeking democracy in the Middle East because democracies would never do the bidding of United States. A democratic Saudi Arabia, he said, would not have discreetly supported the war against Iraq, as the royal family did. Arab governments "are there to satisfy what the American people want, not what their people want."

Mohammad added that Saudis realize the United States cannot abandon Israel, which he said is why Crown Prince Abdullah proposed a peace plan that would recognize Israel if it gave up the occupied territories. Americans could solve the problem of terrorism in "one week," he said, if it simply forced Israel to leave the occupied territories and give the Palestinians a state.

"If Bush says that, he would not be reelected," he sighed. "That is the problem."
2003 The Washington Post Company http://washingtonpost.com

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You really have to be a commited anti-Semite to blame this incident on the Jews--or on the U.S. for it's support of Israel.

They really don't get it. They really should think about why it happened there, and what sorts of terrorists they are really supporting. This snake will continue to bite at them too.
_________________________
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#172080 - Fri May 16 2003 07:14 PM Re: Saudis Pledge Better Security
snm Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Thu Jan 30 2003
Posts: 901
Loc: Israel
Yes, and 9/11 was a Mossad plot

The Imam of Medina has certainly changed his rhetoric since the attack. Last week it was "Oh God, strengthen Islam and Muslims, humiliate infidelity and infidels, and destroy your enemies, the enemies of Islam."
_________________________
"Talk is cheap, arms are not"- Victor Davis Hanson

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#172081 - Sun May 18 2003 08:00 AM Re: Saudis Pledge Better Security
snm Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Thu Jan 30 2003
Posts: 901
Loc: Israel
_________________________
"Talk is cheap, arms are not"- Victor Davis Hanson

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