Muslim Leader, Agent Tell of Saudi Plot

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by Lefty Wilbury, Jun 10, 2004.

  1. Lefty Wilbury

    Lefty Wilbury Active Member

    Nov 4, 2003
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    Muslim Leader, Agent Tell of Saudi Plot


    Disclosure of an alleged plot by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah could slow progress toward normalization of relations between the United States and Libya, U.S. officials said Thursday.

    President Bush, speaking with reporters following the G-8 summit in Georgia, confirmed that U.S. investigators were looking into the plot and trying to establish its veracity.

    "When we find out the facts, we will deal with them accordingly," Bush said. "I have sent a message to him (Gadhafi) that if he honors his commitments to resist terror and to fully disclose and disarm his weapons programs, we will begin a process of normalization, which we have done. We will make sure he honors his commitment."

    State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Libya has provided repeated assurances it was not using violence to settle political disputes after the United States received reports last year of Libyan contacts with Saudi dissidents who made threats against the Saudi royal family.

    The alleged plot against Abdullah was revealed separately by Abduraham Alamoudi, an American Muslim leader jailed in Alexandria, Va., on federal charges of having illegal financial dealings with Libya; and by Col. Mohamed Ismael, a Libyan intelligence officer currently in Saudi custody.

    Two U.S. government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case, said the allegations are viewed as credible. Investigators still are trying to determine if the plot was real and, if so, how far it advanced and Gadhafi's role in it.

    In Tripoli, Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalqam denied there was any plot against Abdullah.

    "We were surprised by this and we deny it completely and categorically," Shalqam said.

    A call to the Saudi Embassy in Washington was not immediately returned Thursday. Justice Department officials declined comment.

    Secretary of State Colin Powell, in an interview with ABC's Peter Jennings aired Thursday evening, cautioned against judging Gadhafi's intentions based on the reports of an alleged assassination plot. He said the Libyan leader's "behavior in recent years with respect to terrorist activity suggests that he was moving in a new direction."

    Gadhafi last year announced that Libya was dismantling its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs. Libya also took responsibility for of the 1988 terrorist bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people and agreed to pay $2.7 billion to the victims' families.

    Bush has taken several steps to restore travel, trade and investment ties with Libya but has not lifted its designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, which carries U.S. sanctions.

    While U.S.-Libya relations have improved, Libya-Saudi relations, tense for years, reached a low in March 2003 when Gadhafi and Abdullah traded insults in a live broadcast of the Arab summit.

    Gadhafi told the summit that he talked to King Fahd about the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait and quoted the king as telling him that his country was threatened and that he was ready to "cooperate with the devil to protect it."

    Abdullah, infuriated by the comments, accused Gadhafi of being an agent of colonialism and said he was brought to power by the United States.

    According to U.S. officials, Alamoudi and Ismael have provided U.S. and Saudi investigators with detailed information about the alleged assassination plot against Abdullah. Bush has been briefed on the matter, which is being handled by the FBI, CIA, State Department and other U.S. agencies.

    Alamoudi's statements were made during plea negotiations with federal prosecutors, who could recommend a lighter sentence if he is cooperative. Alamoudi revealed the alleged plot after his arrest and indictment on charges of illegally attempting to funnel Libyan money to the United States.

    Ismael, the Libyan intelligence officer, has given similar statements to Saudi investigators. The FBI is working to arrange an interview with Ismael and others who may have knowledge of the plot, one official said.

    Prosecutors have portrayed Alamoudi in court papers as a supporter of the al-Qaida and Hamas terror groups, which Alamoudi has denied. He is being held without bond.

    Prosecutors say Alamoudi last August received a briefcase containing $340,000 in cash from the Libyan-controlled Islamic Call Society, which they say Alamoudi hoped to funnel through Saudi Arabia to the United States and evade currency reporting requirements.

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