Mon. Jun 21, 2004
In the past few days, we’ve learned of another brutal murder of an American, Paul Johnson, by Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. The day the news broke, just beforehand I had seen an interview with Johnson’s wife, and it tore my heart out. Largely because even then I felt he was already dead, and had been since shortly after he was captured.
Tue. Jun 01, 2004
The picture in Saudi Arabia, as usual, has been quite confusing. The government, which controls the press, has had very little to say about this weekend’s attacks, and what they have said has been misleading at best. First we heard that there was an attempted assault by Saudi forces, but they retreated under fire. Then we all saw some men get out of a helicopter on top of a building, as part of what they claimed was a successful assault on the terrorists, who they said were holding up to 50 hostages.
Sun. Feb 01, 2004
More like this, please: “Saudi Arabia’s top cleric called on Muslims around the world Saturday to forsake terrorism, saying those who claim to be holy warriors were an affront to the faith.”
“In a sermon that was remarkable not only for its strong language but also its timing at the peak of the annual hajj Sheik Abdul Aziz al-Sheik told 2 million pilgrims that terrorists were giving their enemies an excuse to criticize Muslim nations.”
Mon. Nov 10, 2003
Sometimes, when your “company” is forced to become a very decentralized operation, it’s hard to keep all the minions on the same page.
“The Voice of Jihad,” is an online publication that claims to speak for Al Qaeda. Just a couple of weeks ago in the second issue, Suleiman Al-Dosari wrote: “Our number one enemy is the Jews and the Christians, and we must free ourselves to invest all our efforts until we annihilate them � and we are able do this if Allah allows us to do it � because they are the main obstacle to establishing the Islamic state.”
Tue. Oct 14, 2003
Foggy Bottom’s Friends – A column from Joel Mowbray, subtitled, ”Why is the State Department so cozy with the Saudis?” ”The date was April 24, 2002. Standing on the runway at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, the cadre of FBI, Secret Service and Customs agents had just been informed by law-enforcement officials that there was a ”snag” with Crown Prince Abdullah’s oversized entourage, which was arriving with the prince for a visit to George W. Bush’s Western White House in Crawford, Texas. The flight manifest of the eight-plane delegation accompanying the Saudi would-be king had a problem. Three problems, to be exact: One person on the list was wanted by U.S. law enforcement authorities, and two others were on a terrorist watch list.”
Mon. Sep 29, 2003
28 Pages, Revealed – You might remember the redacted 28 pages about Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 Report. We now have an insider report on what they said: ”The part … contained a recommendation calling for the Saudi government to be barred from printing and distributing the holy Koran. Why? Because it contains verses that incite hatred of Jews and Christians.”
Tue. Aug 05, 2003
Bush’s Saudi Stonewall – No matter what the news, all we’ve heard for years now from the Bush administration is that the Saudis are our friends, worthy of inviting to a barbeque at the ranch in Crawford, Texas (an “honor” bestowed on very very few). They’ve tried to build a question-proof wall around the US-Saudi relationship, and the decision to classify the 28 pages about the Saudis in the 9/11 investigation is One Big Brick.
Sat. Aug 02, 2003
28 Pages – As is inevitable, the Bush administration’s refusal to declassify the section of the 9/11 report that deals with the Saudis has started an ugly ball rolling down the hill. We’ll now get goodly chunks of those 28 pages by proxy, as those who have read them begin to talk. Anonymously.
Fri. Jul 25, 2003
Our Friends Get Redacted – Everybody has got their own special spin on the Congressional report about 9/11 (Computer World: “Inadequate IT contributed to 9/11 intelligence failure”).
I want to talk about our friends, and the Bush administration’s reluctance to reveal anything about their involvement. Friends shouldn’t have anything to hide, should they? It’s most perplexing…
Thu. May 15, 2003
The Saudis Are Our Friends, and Our Murderers – I feel like I’m a bit late to the story of the Riyadh bombings, but frankly, it took a 24 to 36 hours for us to get the most basic information out of the Saudi government/media … how many killed and wounded, what nationalities, and by exactly what means. Such are the wonders and efficiencies of government controlled press in a closed society.
Wed. May 14, 2003
“Saudis Vow Al Qaeda Will Regret Suicide Bombings” – I might have more to say on this soon, but for now I had to quote this. Not the article. Just that headline.
You can go read it, but don’t expect to find that the funny folks at the Onion wrote this masterfully ironic headline. Reality did (with help from Reuters).
Mon. Mar 17, 2003
Sun. Feb 09, 2003
Mon. Jan 06, 2003
Saudis Keep On Giving – “Saudi Arabia has transferred $500 million to Al Qaida over the past decade, according to a report prepared for the United Nations. The report asserts that the Saudi funds represent the most important source of financing for Al Qaida and that Riyad, pressured by leading officials, has failed to stop the flow of money to Al Qaida in wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 suicide attacks on New York and Washington. The 34-page report was written by a French investigator at the request of Colombia, which occupies the presidency of the Security Council.” [...] “The report contrasts with assertions by official spokesmen in Riyad and Washington that Saudi Arabia has made strides toward the halt in Al Qaida financing.”
Sun. Jan 05, 2003
Riyadh: Linchpin To A New Religious Order – Syed Saleem Shahzad, in Asia Times: “The fact is, whether or not the US overthrows Saddam Hussein, its armed forces will remain face to face with the country at the ideological center of fundamentalist Islam. That country is not Iraq; it is Saudi Arabia. And it is this divide – between Western-style democracy and Saudi-style Wahhabi Islam – that remains at the heart of the coming conflict. The majority of Saudi citizens are Sunni Muslims predominantly adhering to the strict interpretation of Islam taught by the Salafi or Wahhabi school that is the official state religion…
Sat. Jan 04, 2003
When Will The Friendship End? – Soon, please. “U.S. government officials tell NBC News that scores of al-Qaida operatives are now cycling back and forth between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and that 30 to 50 al-Qaida members are believed to be in Saudi Arabia at any one time. The claim raises new questions about Saudi cooperation in the war on terror.”
Sat. Dec 07, 2002
Mixed Saudi Messages – The first message is the crafted one: “Saudi Arabia launched an unprecedented public relations offensive this week that was hard for the American public to miss. Savvy spokesman Adel al-Jubeir [...] Al-Jubeir insisted that his country has been unfairly maligned by U.S. critics who paint the Saudis as fair-weather allies in the war on terrorism because they resist pleas to crack down on anti-American fanatics. Even so, he announced tepid new steps to stem the flow of supposedly charitable Saudi money that winds up with al-Qaeda.”
Sun. Nov 24, 2002
Statesmanship, Saudi Style – A fine, fine column from Colbert King, spurred by a meeting with eight Saudis trying to ”spin” their country’s position, amid complaints about changes in US visa policies towards Saudi’s, and intemperate comments by people like Jerry Falwell. Mr. King rightfully turns the tables on them; in order to be completely fair and reciprocal, how about if we adopt your country’s policies on visas and religious freedom?
Tue. Nov 12, 2002
Frederick’s of Riyadh – I’m not a big fan of Maureen Dowd … at all … but she’s got some interesting anecdotes from her trip to Saudi Arabia: "On Wednesday at 11:30 p.m., I walked to the mall connected to my hotel to verify that there is a ’women only’ lingerie section in Harvey Nichols [...] The three-story mall was so chockablock with designer stilettos, bondage boots, transparent blouses and glittering gowns with plunging necklines that it would have made Las Vegas blush."
Tue. Aug 27, 2002
Bush Will Consult Saudis on War – (and the echo of this anger continues) "President Bush pledged in a meeting on Tuesday with the Saudi ambassador to consult with Saudi Arabia and other countries as he approaches a decision on whether to attack Iraq, the White House said."