MEMRI reports that recent editions of the Al-Qaeda magazine, The Voice of Jihad, contain debates on whether or not the organization should strike within Saudi Arabia. “There has been no dispute,” says MEMRI, “over striking American or Western targets around the world – only regarding attacks within the kingdom.”
A “high ranking Al-Qa’ida member,” Abd Al-‘Aziz bin ‘Issa bin Abd Al-Mohsen, is quoted thusly: “Jihad members and Mujahideen sympathizers were divided: Some said we must attack the invading forces that defile the land of the two holy places [i.e. the Arabian Peninsula], and must cause the Americans to become preoccupied with themselves and their bases so they won’t leave them to crush the countries and lands of the Muslims, country by country.
“Others said we had to preserve the security of this base and of this country [i.e. Saudi Arabia], from which we recruit the armies, from which we take out the young people, and from which we receive [financial] backing. It must therefore remain safe.
“My opinion is an intermediate opinion, between the two groups. It is true that we must keep the enemy preoccupied with himself and not give him a sense of security, because as soon as he secures his bases and his lines of supply, he will have an opportunity to use them to attack our brothers in different parts of the countries of the Islamic world. But we must prepare ourselves and be ready for this momentous event the best way we possibly can. We told them: ‘Wait, we are readying ourselves.’ Then we attacked the Americans.
“It is also true that we must take advantage of this country [Saudi Arabia] because it is the primary source of funds for most Jihad movements, and it has some degree of security and freedom of movement. But we must strike a balance between this and America’s invasion of the Islamic world and its hobbling of the Jihad movement and even of other Islamic movements”¦”
Another Al-Qaeda member, Louis Attiya Allah (an alias), says that the negative effect of Saudi attempts to portray the November 8 Riyadh bombing as an operation against Muslims (which it doesn’t seem to have been anyway) “is temporary and will disappear if, for example, the Mujahideen strike another blow in America. Then sympathy will return to what it was in the past, and may even increase.”
Says Voice of Jihad editorial writer Suleiman Al-Dosari: “Our number-one enemy is the Jews and the Christians, and we must make ourselves available and invest all our effort until we destroy them — and we are capable of doing this if Allah allows us to — because they are the main obstacle to the establishment of the Islamic state.”
Plus this, also from Louis Attiya Allah: “The world order must be removed from the region and defeated, first of all militarily. Then, the Islamic state must be reestablished, in accordance with the Islamic regime. . . . The experience [of an Islamic state] is real, and it existed 1,300 years ago. The peoples of the East ruled themselves and lived according to their own rules long before the West was in the region. There is nothing to prevent the revival of these rules, which are based on the Koran and the Sunna . . . No political program has a chance of succeeding if we do not defeat the West, militarily and culturally, and remove it from Muslim countries. Then, it will not be difficult for the nation, with the help of its tremendous resources, to rebuild life according to religious Islamic principles. We will become the masters of the world, as the world’s economic fate depends on us because we have the resources the world needs and all the elements of controlling the world are in our hands.”
And: “The Jihad movement in the Arabian Peninsula will not be stopped by the borders of the so-called Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, because the entity called by this name is an artificial entity that has no religious foundation. There is no religious consideration that prevents, for example, the transfer of Jihad outside this entity to Yemen or to the countries called the Gulf States. All these types of nation-states have no significance, and they have no [religious] protection preventing their removal when the Jihad goes into action.”
And finally, another indication of how deeply these men have imbibed the 7th-century world of the Qur’an: “The main enemies of the nation, the Byzantines, will not come to their end until Judgment Day, and therefore there is no point in talking of stopping the battle”¦ The most important thing is that the Mujahideen will safeguard the burning ember of Jihad. The more martyrs’ blood is shed for the sake of this ember, the greater its light; it will burn the enemies more quickly and victory will draw near, Allah willing”¦”
The Byzantines? Last I looked the Byzantine Empire fell on Tuesday, May 29, 1453, the black day when jihadist invaders finally broke into Constantinople and massacred its gallant, vastly outnumbered defenders. But to Al-Qaeda, the world is and will ever be as it is in the Qur’an and the traditions of Muhammad (the 30th sura of the Qur’an is entitled Al-Rum “” that is, The Byzantines). Those who dismiss these as motivating factors for radical Muslims should take note.