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Reporting and Analysis
The U.S. - Saudi Relationship and al-Qaida's Attack in Riyadh
Adel al-Jubeir, Foreign Policy Advisor to Crown Prince Abdullah Speaks

On May 16, 2003 Saudi ruler, Crown Prince Abdullah's Foreign Policy Adviser, Adel al-Jubeir, spoke at length to the assembled U.S. media representatives at the Saudi embassy in Washington, DC. He made important points about the relationship between the U.S. and the Saudi government in great detail. He was well dressed in suit and tie, spoke good English with a slight accent, and used idiom familiar to Americans.

Owing to criticism of Saudi Arabia in the U.S. media, particularly after the attack in Riyadh, al-Jubeir disclosed information which Saudi officials do not usually reveal about the Saudi-U.S. relationship.

Al-Jubeir's presentation, followed by questions and answers, was telecast live and uncut on C-Span and then repeated twice later in the day. Here are the main points:

1. A solid military relationship exists between the U.S. and the Saudi Arabian regime
2. The U.S. and the Saudis share intelligence and access to suspects.
3. CIA Director Tenet is fully satisfied with the Saudi cooperation with the U.S. in both intelligence and access to suspects.
4. There is TOTAL cooperation between the U.S. and the Saudis against "terrorism,"
5. An average of a DOZEN communications take place every day between the two regarding intelligence on terrorism.
6. Both the Saudis and the U.S. are the targets of "terrorism."
7. The last month alone, the Saudis have questioned "thousands" of suspects, have HUNDREDS of people in detention, and of these one hundred have been put on trial.
8. The Saudi government froze Osama bin Laden's assets in the 90s and since 9.11 numerous bank accounts of "suspects" have been frozen.
9. Al-Qaida is challenging the LEGITIMACY of the Saudi regime. It is an "existential" struggle. The Saudi regime is on the side of "modernity," "innovation" and "education" while al-Qaida wants to take people back to the "dark ages."
10. Al-Qaida is not a conventional organization; it's a mind set with clusters of cells working autonomously.
11. The common link between the "terrorists" who are carrying out the attacks is "AFGHANISTAN - CHECHNYA - BOSNIA."
12. We [here al-Jubeir identified the Saudi mind set] "as Arabs and as bedouins" cannot tolerate attacks on our "guests."
13. President Saleh of Yemen deserves great praise for his complete cooperation in the war against "terrorism."
14. We are carrying out "modernization" projects and will even hold "elections" if necessary to increase participation in our system
15. Saudi government is giving funds to "Islamic charities" in the U.S. There is nothing wrong here because these are "legitimate."
16. The case of Mr. Faqihi, the Saudi accountant in Berlin, has been overblown. [He answered this in detail.] He had just given a couple of hundred dollars for a fast breaking ceremony and his business card was found with someone who was a suspect in Germany.
17. In our religion, to kill one person, it is as if one killed all of humanity; hence we are against terrorism.
[Other than the word "terrorists," the words within quotation marks are Mr. Jubeir's.]

ANALYSIS by the Editor

What Mr. Al-Jubeir left out of his presentation is probably more important than what he said. He did not point out that in ISLAM there IS NO MONARCHY. Only Caliphate based on the people's consultation and consent is permitted. Hence, Islamically the Saudi regime is illegitimate.

Arabia should not be called "Saudi Arabia." In Islam, the land belongs to Allah and the Saudi family has no right to name the land of the Prophet's (pbuh) birth after its family name. Inheritance of power from father to son or other relatives (hereditary rule) is strictly forbidden in Islam and Muslim history is the history of the people trying to overthrow such rule.

The Saudi monarchy has squandered the wealth of Arabia: Much of it is now in Chase Manhattan Bank. This use of the people's wealth as if it belongs to the family of Saud is in direct violation of the Qur'an, the Hadith and the example of the Sahaba (companions of the Prophet).

Mr. Jubeir admitted that U.S. troops had come to Arabia at the invitation of the Saudis. Again, this makes the regime illegitimate because the Qur'an has forbidden such presence in the land of the Prophet (pbuh).

Most observers agree that the Riyadh attack was a well planned attack meant to show two things:

1. That there is an integral military alliance between the U.S. and the Saudis. The targets were the people who make the Saudi security apparatus viable and capable of crushing the uprising of the Arabian people.

2. That the Saudi government, given the choice between Islam and America, will choose America.

CAN Al-QAIDA SUCCEED IN TOPPLING the SAUDIS through SUCH ATTACKS?

Where the attackers and the oppressed majority share the same faith and aspirations, there is a chance that "terrorism" can be effective. But in the case of Al-Qaida, it might not work.

In modern times, "terrorism" was effectively used first by the guerrillas of Mao Tse Dong. For instance, Mao knew that the villagers of China were terrified of the power of landlords. The villagers thought that the landlords were so well-armed and powerful that the situation could never change. [Often the way out for such villagers was to take opium and drop out of any efforts at change.]

Mao took some drastic measures. His forces struck suddenly at a number of villages, captured the main landlords in a few villages and strung them up in the village square. Thus the mind set the villagers had about the invincibility of the landlords was shattered and a general uprising began. The people could see the "super" men hanging in the village square.

Al-Qaida seems to be giving the same kind of treatment to the symbols of American power. The difference is that America's power is much more than that of any landlord. Al-Qaida has to sacrifice its best fighters to be able to get to the Americans and then seldom succeeds.

There is ANOTHER REASON WHY al-Qaida CANNOT succeed at this stage. The U.S. has planted well armed LOCAL MERCENARY FORCES within each country it controls. The financial and socio-economic interests of these local forces are the same as those of the U.S. power structure. Thus they see any attack on American interests as an attack on themselves. As Mr. Adel Al-Jubeir said so eloquently about the U.S.-Saudi regime relationship:

"We are ONE. We are IN THE SAME BOAT ...." "We will fight them whatever the cost...."

The problem Al-Qaida faces is that the Muslim masses, though fired up against America, owing to Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, are basically PEACEFUL people. In Saudi Arabia, they will make hot speeches or their leaders will give fatwas. In PAKISTAN they will come out on the streets and demonstrate. If the masses come out strongly against the rulers, the local mercenary forces will crush them, AS HAPPENED IN ALGERIA EVEN AFTER THE ISLAMISTS HAD WON THE ELECTIONS.

The Muslim MASSES are UNARMED and PEACEFUL. The rulers are HEAVILY armed. Hence an al-Qaida attack cannot lead to an uprising of the people.

Al-Qaida's role seems to be to remove the FEAR and AWE of America from the hearts of the Muslim masses. Its attacks also make the Muslim masses aware of their HELPLESSNESS. That is a painful kind of awakening but it is an awakening. The Muslims masses are beginning to realize that they can demonstrate PEACEFULLY in their MILLIONS from Morocco to Sudan, to Pakistan, to Bangladesh to Indonesia, but peaceful means could not (and did not) avert an attack on Iraq. Earlier Afghanistan was bombed during Ramadan and the masses of the Muslim world could only watch in horror. Is it surprising that most Muslims rejoiced on learning that Osama bin Laden (probably) survived the horrific bombing of Tora Bora, the like of which the world has never seen, numerous atom-bomb-like explosions dotting the Islamic land.
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2003-05-17 Sat 13:28ct