Walid Phares, one of the world’s keenest observers of Islamic terrorism, places Saturday’s bombings in the context of an Al-Qaeda ultimatum to the House of Saud: choose the USA or us. When the Saudis looked as if they were cracking down on radicals, al-Qaeda struck.
Phares records the analysis of Al-Jazeera’s Washington bureau chief: “. . . the attacks in Riyadh were provoked by crackdowns against Islamists. Hafiz al-Mirazi puts it that way: ‘Those men who knew that the security forces were coming to kill them hit first.’ In other words, al-Qaeda was implementing a pre-emptive strike, which is not exactly terrorism. In other words, al-Jazeera whitewashed the attack of al-Qaeda on the Saudi Kingdom.”
Phares explains that “Riyadh was compressed between its traditional inclination to Wahhabism and its realistic foreign policy need to maintain its ties to the United States. Al-Qaeda wanted to force the Saudis to shift either way, or collapse inwards. From May to November, it gave six months to the Kingdom to make its choice. In the eyes of bin Laden, it seems that the Saudi ruling elite made its choice, deciding to crack down on al-Qaeda’s operations within the Kingdom.”
The last straw for al-Qaeda was the Kingdom’s crackdowns on the rabid clerics I quote in my own piece (see below): “Then al-Qaeda decided the Saudis had gone too far. One day, Crown Prince Abdallah made a declaration of war against the ‘clerics’ who protected al-Qaeda and legitimized violence. He called them ‘intruders’ and ‘enemies of the true path.’ It was seen, by al-Qaeda, as declaration of war.”
“. . . By October, winds of jihad were blowing.Osama bin Laden aired his audiotape on al-Jazeera television, ordering his Mujahedeen to attack infidels around the Middle East on October 19. The Qatari-based satellite TV network not only broadcast the ‘State of Jihad’ address, but played it all day long, and assembled intellectuals to explain it better to the populace.”
So much for the recent claims from some in the Muslim world that Al-Jazeera was bowing to US pressure and climbing out of the radicals’ hip pocket. Meanwhile, how is the venerable network covering the Saturday attacks? Here’s Phares: “Less than a few minutes after the blasts Saturday at midnight, Middle East time, the news room in Qatar was interviewing the spokesman of the ‘Islamic Reform Movement’ of London. In a split second, the Islamist dissident accused the Saudis of ‘massacres’ inside the holy city. Associating Mecca with Muslim blood is, indeed, explosive. I’ll bet that in the next days or weeks you will hear the story developing as a ‘legitimate guerrilla attack’ against the monarchy, or at least, there will be an attempt to frame it that way.”
That will be most interesting to see.
“The attack against the al-Muhayya neighborhood is typical of al-Qaeda methodology. The organization attacks the ‘infidels’ wherever it can reach them in Arabia, then waits to see the authorities falling in front of hard choices; either with the infidels or against them. That’s what drives al-Qaeda and its suicide bombers today: They are simply dividing the world into what they want it to be — the world of international law and the world of jihad.”