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King Fahd trying to patch up with US

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  • ummyakoub
    King Fahd crackdown may spur mujahidin http://english.aljazeera.net/Articles/News/ArabWorld/Saudi+king+cracks +down+on+extremism.htm Sunday 31 August 2003,
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2003
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      King Fahd crackdown may spur mujahidin

      http://english.aljazeera.net/Articles/News/ArabWorld/Saudi+king+cracks
      +down+on+extremism.htm


      Sunday 31 August 2003, 13:32 Makka Time, 10:32 GMT


      King Fahd's attempt to stamp out what he calls extremist preaching
      from his Saudi kingdom's mosques could backfire, warned clerics and
      analysts.


      Critics say the clampdown will only serve to drive young Saudi men to
      Iraq to fight in a holy war against the American "satan".

      King Fahd's warning for clerics to stop preaching militant messages
      was seen as a response to accusations last week by US Deputy
      Secretary of State Richard Armitage said last.

      Armitage said that some of those attacking occupying forces in Iraq
      were coming into the country from neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

      However, in an official statement on Sunday, Saudi Arabia said there
      was no proof yet that any of its citizens were involved in the
      bombing in the Iraqi Shiite holy city of Najaf.

      The statement challenged those who made the accusations to deliver
      concrete proof.

      Hours earlier, the leading cleric Mohsen al-Awajy said: "Most youth
      think the only safe road is to go to Iraq. They are trapped between
      the international campaign against terrorism and this campaign at
      home."

      Safe haven

      "The only safe haven for them is to go to Iraq. We are hearing
      stories of families who get mobile phone messages from their sons
      saying they're going to Iraq."

      Awajy said thousands of Saudi veterans of the war against the Soviet
      occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, who at that time were
      supported by the government, were now being targeted.

      The Saudi crackdown intensified after the May bombings in Riyadh,
      which killed 35 people, including nine Americans. Authorities have
      arrested more than 200 militants believed linked to al-Qaida.


      Damaged buildings after an attack
      on a compound used by expatriates
      which killed 35 people in Riyadh


      "In the Saudi streets, people are not happy with the mass operation
      against former mujahidin, who were encouraged by the Saudi
      government. Without US pressure, our own government would not be as
      harsh against their own people," Awajy added.

      Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef has denied Saudi nationals have
      been pouring over the long porous border into Iraq, saying in remarks
      published on Saturday that any Saudis in Iraq must have entered
      through a third country.

      New generation mujahidin


      Political analyst Dawoud al-Shiryan said it was clear from the age
      profile of dozens of Saudis wanted, arrested or shot in a series of
      skirmishes between militants and police in recent months that this
      was a new generation of mujahidin.

      "The problem is the new generation. People in their 20s, most of them
      born after the Iranian revolution. The security solution is not
      enough. These people are willing to die, and we have a lot of jobless
      and economic problems.

      "When Saudis go to Iraq it's partly because of these pressures. You
      cannot take away 30 years of something with a few sermons. It needs a
      major plan in culture, media and education."

      London-based dissident Muhammad al-Massari said Saudi police, long
      sidelined by the powerful morality police in this strict Islamic
      state, were ill-equipped to confront an insurgency.

      Pro-bin Ladin

      "The training is miserable and the psychological preparation is very
      bad. A big percentage of the police will be pro-bin Ladin," Massari
      said.

      "The militants are not willing to be taken into custody without a
      fight. Most of the fights have been bloody and the government does
      not announce every fight," he added.

      The Saudi Foreign Ministry has made it mandatory to have security
      guards at schools, Western food franchises and foreign airline
      offices and travel agencies in the kingdom.

      Usama bin Ladin has repeatedly called for jihad (holy struggle)
      against "infidel" countries, urging his followers to target Western
      interests.

      "The main reason there was no militant action in Saudi (against the
      government) in the last 10 years was ideological - it would have
      involved Muslims getting killed," Massari said.

      "Now people are getting over this, but those hesitating can go to
      Iraq, it's a paradise."



      King Fahd is said to be increasingly concerned about the situation
      and responded on Sunday by ordering Muslim clerics to combat hardline
      ideologies, which he said were harming the kingdom and Islam.


      Usama bin Ladin: Adored by
      many young Saudi men


      Saudi Arabia, birthplace of al-Qaida figurehead bin Ladin, is trying
      to crush Islamist dissidents at home and improve its image abroad
      after the September 11 attacks on US cities two years ago and
      bombings in Riyadh in May.

      "Ignorance has penetrated some of the nation's youth and tempted
      terrorist networks to use them for aims which only serve the nation's
      enemies and harm Islam and Muslims and open the door for accusations
      against Islam of violence and terrorism," King Fahd said in a speech
      that appeared in Sunday's papers.

      "Brothers... what is needed is reforming this deviant and strange
      thinking by delivering the correct message at mosques against excess
      in religion," he said.

      US ally under pressure

      His speech to an Islamic conference on Saturday comes as the United
      States steps up pressure on its key regional political and economic
      ally, to crack down on Muslim fighters and reform its powerful
      religious establishment which has been accused in the West of
      breeding hatred towards Christians and Jews.


      Washington has welcomed what it sees are signs that Saudi leaders are
      finally taking a stand against violent elements.

      King Fahd told the gathering of clerics from across the Muslim world
      that the duty of mosques was to preach peace, security, cooperation,
      justice and tolerance.

      Washington has welcomed what it sees are signs that Saudi leaders are
      finally taking a stand against violent elements, who might threaten
      not only Western interests, but the power of the Saudi royal house
      itself.

      Bin Ladin has often called for jihad against the United States, and
      has deemed Saudi rulers infidels because of their ties to the West.

      Campaign against extremists

      The 11 September 2001 attacks were carried out mainly by Saudi
      hijackers loyal to bin Ladin, and al-Qaida is also thought to be
      behind the triple bomb attacks on housing compounds in Riyadh which
      killed 35 people, including nine Americans.

      Riyadh intensified its campaign against armed dissidents after the
      May bombings, leading to several bloody clashes between police and
      Islamist fighters and to the arrest of more than 200 suspects.

      Authorities have dismissed 700 clerics and banned around 1500 from
      preaching in mosques for inciting dissent.

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