Saudi special forces overran a seaside villa in Damman Sept. 6 where Islamic militants had been holed up, ending three days of heavy fighting that left at least nine dead. For two nights, special forces pounded the villa with rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire before launching the major assault. One of the five militants killed in the fighting was identified as No. 3 on the country’s most-wanted list, Zaid Saad Zaid al-Samari, a Saudi sought in connection with terror attacks launched in the kingdom. King Abdullah, who took over the throne last month after the death of his half brother, Fahd, has vowed to push ahead with the crackdown on Islamic militans, and some suggest he plans to intensify it. (AP, Sept. 7)
After the raid, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal announced that the kingdom is seeking UN endorsement of its proposal for an international anti-terrorist center. “Saudi Arabia has presented a proposal to the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and governments who participated in the international anti-terrorism conference held in Riyadh last February calling for the General Assembly to issue a resolution endorsing the Riyadh Declaration,” Prince Saud said.
The Prince has been pushing this idea aggressively for months. “The creation of the international counterterrorism center which the Kingdom had called for would help open a new page of effective global cooperation to establish an international community free of terrorism,” he said while addressing a Cabinet meeting in July. The proposal has been endorsed by the Arab Summit, the Arab-Latin American Summit and the Islamic foreign ministers summit.
The new statement said a resolution to establish the center will intensify the ongoing efforts for fighting terrorism and will boost the capability of international organizations, such as the UN Committee for Combating Terrorism and the Interpol. (Arab News, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 7)
The SITE (Search for International Terrorist Entities) Instute claims that recent discussion on a password-protected al-Qaeda-affiliated forum revolved around the question of going to jihad in Saudi Arabia now, or finishing jihad in Iraq and then moving to Saudi Arabia. SITE states that members were split on the issue, though a clear majority is in favor of the former option, stressing past statements by Osama bin Laden and noting support given to “crusader” troops by the Saudi government. Those who advocate jihad in Iraq as taking precedence argued for the greater combat experience the mujahedeen will gain, and the greater “possibilities” in there; Iraq is denoted as a “complete war,” while Saudi Arabia is dependent upon “availability.”
Some cited the advice of Shiekh al-Battar that when the “occupation” of Iraq is weakened, then Saudi Arabia will be a prime target. Those advocating an immediate focus on Saudi Arabia stated that a weakening of its border security—characterized as “dogs of the crusaders’ alliances”—would open the “door to the Gulf and to Africa” for the mujahedeen.
One member, stating that “jihad is a must for every Muslim as long as the infidels come to Muslim land,” provides a map of the northern portion of the Arabian peninsula, indicating “crusaders’ bases” in Kuwait which the “Kuwait mujahideen targeted.” (SITE Institue, Sept. 7)
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