Saudi Arabia: Why terrorists are targeting Islam's holiest land

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by nycflasher, Jun 6, 2004.

  1. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    ....The longer-term effects of Saudi unrest are more worrying, both for the kingdom and for the rest of the world. Direct attacks on oil installations, which are heavily defended, are considered unlikely. Moreover, by damaging the country's livelihood, the jihadis would lose such public support as remains. Hitting soft targets, such as expatriates, cannot halt oil production. Already 85% of the staff of Saudi Aramco, the giant state oil monopoly, are indigenous. Yet over time, as the violence makes foreign experts costlier and harder to recruit, the kingdom could suffer.

    Most analysts reckon it will take time and more bloodshed to deal with terror. “This is just the sunrise,” says a human-rights activist in Dammam. “We're in for a rough five years,” says an American executive in Riyadh. “I foresee an Algeria-type situation”, he said, alluding to a civil war in the 1990s which left 100,000-odd dead.

    Since September 11th 2001, the Saudi authorities have made some headway against terrorism by making their long borders less porous, by controlling suspicious financial transactions, by protecting obvious targets, by purging school curricula of lessons inciting sectarian hatred, and by using the media to inflame opinion against the jihadis. But their struggle ahead is long.

    “The government can't fight terrorism by itself,” says a Saudi businessman in Khobar. “It needs the people with it, and to get them it must give them a say in the political process. Right now, many people say this [terrorism] is bad, this is awful, but it isn't my business. It's between the government and the terrorists.”

    The need for reform is accepted inside the ruling establishment. Some changes have been made, and others promised, including—for the first time—direct elections in October for half the seats on municipal councils. Next week, the third round of a “national dialogue”, a series of conferences gathering a representative range of professionals, is to discuss women's rights.

    But so far most of this is talk, not action. “I don't care if they hold 30 conferences,” says the human-rights advocate. “They haven't implemented a single recommendation from the last ones.” Like other Saudi observers, he thinks that reform has not only stalled but gone into reverse. Soon after the kingdom authorised a semi-official human-rights monitoring body in March, the police arrested 13 democracy advocates. Three are still in prison, without charge; the new human-rights body has done nothing to secure their release.

    What liberal Saudis fear most from jihadi violence is not physical injury or even the prospect that the kingdom's already stifling religious conservatism might increase. It is that the ageing princes who run the place will take fright, and bolt the doors against change of any kind.
     
  2. khayri11
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    khayri11 Rookie

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    It may be too late for the house of Saud. They've allowed this cancer to fester on their soil for nearly 80 years. They've made a pact with Wahhabis and extremists all over the world and now the extremists want to overthrow them. The old sons of ibn Saud are physically weak, locked into the arrangement with fanatical clerics. Their sons are better educated and more liberal but by the time they get to rule there may not be a "Saudi" Arabia.

    America REALLY needs reduce its dependency on fossil fuels. We're not going to be able to maintain this facade of protecting "democracy" when what we really want to do is maintain the free flow of oil at cheap prices. We're going to have to occupy another OPEC nation to keep extremists from controlling the government - which, of course, means another quagmire.
     
  3. menewa
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    menewa Member

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    It's hard to our president is such great friends and business partners with these guys.:eek:
     
  4. khayri11
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    khayri11 Rookie

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    We might be able to dump the Saudis now that we have new Iraqi friends. We may have a better chance to benefit from them. I've heard that they have 11 percent world's oil reserves.
     

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