Thursday, June 17, 2004

Saudi Revolution Watch - "Like a Wave Sweeping the Country"

This article in the Lebanese paper the Daily Star quotes Mai Yamani, a Saudi exile with a PhD in anthropology from Oxford. She is maybe even more pessimistic (and certainly more knowledgable) than I am about the Saudi vs al Qaeda cage match.

Yamani thinks the security forces are crawling with terrorist sympathizers. You knew that. But this part really got me.

According to Yamani, 10 of the 15 attackers of Sept. 11, 2001, were from the southern mountainous region of Asir. The security forces in the country are dominated by people from Asir, Yamani said. Al-Ghamdi was one of the surnames of the hijackers of Sept. 11. According to Yamani, there are more than 6,000 Ghamdis in the security forces.

"The security forces or elements within the security forces are contaminated with sympathizers of the jihadists. There are intricate personal and tribal links between the security forces and the jihadists ... It is too late, and now it is like a wave that is sweeping the country."

So what are the options for the regime. How about every polite liberals favorite, reform. "If they embark on reforms, they are accused of bowing to the Americans."

Ok, that won't work. On the other extreme if they crack down hard and innocent Saudis get swept up in the dragnet, they be seen the monsters al Qeada accuses them of being. How about doing what they've done in the past, what they're doing now, what everyone does when you don't know what to do - nothing. "If they don't do anything, even the moderates are going to throw themselves in the arms of the jihadists."



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