Walid Phares turns in another incisive analysis of the deeper significance of the Riyadh bombings at FrontPage magazine: contrary to the U.S. State Department assertion that the attack “is not against America and the West only, it is also against Islam,” the attackers were actually targeting Lebanese Christians — as reported here from both Lebanese and radical Muslim sources.
Phares explains that “the characterization of the Riyadh attacks took off without accurate data. Both the BBC and CNN ignored the victims: their names, their socio-economic realities and the history of the Jihadists in this regard.”
Phares reports that a “few hours after I finished writing this piece, an al-Qaida commander out of Iraq admitted that the compound was ‘under surveillance for many months.’ Al-Hijazi added it was known ‘that a large group of Lebanese Christians were living there.’ He openly declared, ‘After consultation, we decided it was appropriate to attack this place and destroy it, including the people who lived there, because it housed Americans and a large majority of Christians holding Lebanese citizenship.’
“With these words, al-Qaida has declared war on Lebanese Christians, and if it gets the opportunity, on Christians worldwide.”
Meanwhile, this Washington Times piece states that the bombings killed “17 persons, most of them Arabs.” This is absolutely the wrong focus: it matters not a whit that they were Arabs, and in any case Lebanese Christians are descendants of the pre-Arabic inhabitants of the region. It is not significant at all that Al-Qaeda would target fellow Arabs, if fellow Arabs they were. They targeted them because they were non-Muslims, as indeed radical Muslims are waging war everywhere today in the name of Islam — whether these Muslims are Arabs or not. Calling radical Muslim terrorists “Arabs” and portraying the war on terror as a struggle against “Arabs” only obscures the fact that the conflict is ideological — against those who are fighting because of their belief in Islamic jihad ideology. It is not racial or nationalistic.