Friday, June 04, 2004

Saudi Rumor Mongering

These are a few rumors and some speculation I’ve picked up on the internet or pieced together from my own imagination. Take them for what they are worth.

- Al Qaeda has changed its tactics in Saudi Arabia. Earlier attacks that killed Saudis hurt their popularity and recruiting efforts in the Kingdom. Instead, they have adopted a new tactic designed to kill Westerners and other non-Muslims.

- To implement this tactic, they have established a number of 4 man attack teams. These men will die for the cause but they are not suicide killers. They would rather live to kill another day. Suicide killers are too expensive in terrorist resources for all but the most spectacular attacks. However, those attacks have a greater chance of killing Saudis. Al Qaeda will use these 4 man teams to target non-Muslims throughout the Kingdom. Look for more attacks on Western workplaces and residences. They could target airports Westerners frequent or even the airplanes themselves.

- The point is to intimidate the foreigners into leaving. There are 6 million foreign residents working for about 16 million Saudis, most of them Asians who do manual labor. Foreigners do everything from clean houses and pick up garbage to high skilled engineering and finance. The more foreigners leave the worse for the economy and infrastructure. With so many foreigners, it shouldn’t hard to kill more. Today’s New York Times reported on people already leaving.

- The terrorists have sympathizers or even recruits in the police and armed forces. These insiders allow the terrorists to escape the scenes of their crimes and possibly give them information about security. I base this on two things. One, how did the 4 terrorists get into the compound last week? It was the most exclusive expatriate community, home to the top oil executives. It was one of the most heavily guarded places in the Kingdom, except for royal residences. Yet, 4 men wearing military uniforms got inside and started shooting people. Two, the getaway. Supposedly the commandos had the place surrounded yet 3 of the 4 killers got away. The fourth man was wounded and is conveniently in a coma (convenient because he can’t be questioned). There was a deal to let them escape or someone in the security services tipped off the terrorists. Either way, the New York Times says, “They were long gone by the time commandos landed on the roof at dawn.”

- The terrorists have a large degree of passive support among constituencies throughout the country. These supporters are passive in that they don’t pick up arms or fight or otherwise make their sympathies known to the public or the government. Their main support is in not ratting out the terrorists. These supporters know who works with al Qaeda but they will deny everything when asked. Call it the Sergeant Schultz factor. They see nothing. They hear nothing. They know nothing. Some of these supporters may go a step further and rent safe houses or sell other non-weapon supplies to al Qaeda, with a certain level of plausible deniability. Mao said, “The guerrilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea.” These passive supports are the sea.

More to come.

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