Thursday, September 13, 2007

Saudi Hits Back

from Gulf Daily News

Saudi Arabia yesterday dismissed a US claim that it was not doing enough to fight terrorism. Such public criticism does not tally with what US officials say in private, said Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal. "We hear every now and then that the kingdom does not do enough. But "when we meet with officials, they thank us for our efforts to combat terrorism. They describe the programme we are implementing as one of the most effective on the international scene to confront terrorism, be it on the security or material fronts." He was responding to a question about remarks by the US Treasury's top anti-terrorism official, Stuart Levey, who chided Saudi Arabia for not prosecuting the bankrollers of terrorist groups. The undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence told the US television network ABC that not a single individual identified by the US or the UN as a terror financier had been prosecuted by Saudi Arabia. "We are surprised, but we can only repeat that we are exerting every possible effort," Prince Saud said.

U.S.: Saudis Still Filling Al Qaeda's Coffers

by Brian Ross, Rhonda Schwartz, and Maddy Sauer from ABC News: The Blotter

"If I could somehow snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Saudi Arabia," Stuart Levey, the under secretary of the Treasury in charge of tracking terror financing, told ABC News. Despite some efforts as a U.S. ally in the war on terror, Levey says Saudi Arabia has dropped the ball. Not one person identified by the United States and the United Nations as a terror financier has been prosecuted by the Saudis, Levey says. "When the evidence is clear that these individuals have funded terrorist organizations, and knowingly done so, then that should be prosecuted and treated as real terrorism because it is," Levey says.

Militants abduct 12 more Pakistani soldiers

from AFP

The incident came as a senior US diplomat arrived in Islamabad for talks on counter-terrorism, the latest in a string of visitors from Washington as it presses President Pervez Musharraf to take strong action against Al-Qaeda. In a pre-dawn raid, the rebels armed with heavy weapons including rocket launchers surrounded a security post on the outskirts of the troubled city of Bannu, which borders the tribal zone of North Waziristan, officials said ... Pakistan has been rocked by violence since troops stormed the radical Red Mosque in Islamabad in July, with militants increasingly turning to kidnappings to press their demands for troops to stop operations against them. More than 200 soldiers remain in insurgent hands in the tribal zone of South Waziristan bordering Afghanistan nearly two weeks after surrendering without firing a shot ... Taliban-linked militants in northwest Pakistan have also mounted a campaign for a hardline interpretation of Islamic Sharia law. They beheaded two women accused of prostitution near Bannu last week.

Wake up, the invisible front line runs right through your back yard

by Timothy Garton Ash from The Guardian

Rooting out al-Qaida and beating back the renascent Taliban is an integral part of combating jihadist terrorism, also in Europe. So is trying to change the poisonous mixture of radical religion and politics in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The man who seems to have been a ringleader of the German group, a convert to Islam called Fritz Gelowicz, was radicalised in the Multi-Kultur-Haus (another blow to the good name of multiculturalism) in Neu-Ulm by instructors from the toxic Wahhabi sect of Islam, based in and funded by that great American ally, Saudi Arabia. He then reportedly went for Arabic language training in Syria and terrorist training in the border regions of Pakistan, in a camp run by the Islamic Jihad Union, originally an Uzbek group. According to German sources, the instruction to launch the anniversary attack came by email from Pakistan. So in its pathology, the threat we face is both international and intranational, global and local. Death comes to you out of Neu-Ulm by way of Waziristan. The invisible front line runs 5,000 miles away - and right in front of your nose.

Police, firefighters are 'community's heroes'

by Francis X. Donnelly from The Detroit News

Whether it's terrorism or other types of danger, police and firefighters are needed every day to protect the populace, said Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. The same theme resounded at other Sept. 11 ceremonies around Metro Detroit, ranging from moments in silence in schools to a rally in front of Dearborn City Hall by an Arab-American group. The Iraqi American Coalition for Peace wanted to show its sympathy for all the Americans who died in the terrorist attacks, President Mustafa Al-Saffi said. But he also wanted to spotlight a group that he believes allows terrorism to flourish in the Middle East -- Saudi Arabia's government. The government allows religious leaders to teach a radical version of Islam called Wahhabism that bolsters the popularity of al-Qaida, Al-Saffi said. "The problem is that the Wahhabi hijacked Islam," he said. "They've damaged the image of Muslims all over the world."

Burning the Ships? Iran and the United States

by Nathan Gonzales from Foreign Policy In Focus

The example of A. Q. Khan points to the suspected inability of certain countries to keep control over their nuclear capabilities. Pakistan is dramatically different from Iran, especially in the area of national unity. For one, Pakistan does not enjoy the natural, long-standing borders that Iran does. And while Pakistan was partitioned from India for religious reasons, Iran as a nation existed well before the advent of Islam. Today, Pakistan enjoys significant collusion with a variety of external actors, not the least of which are Sunni Wahhabi fundamentalists, who have opened madrasas (or religious seminaries) and continue to spread their Saudi brand of Islam in the country. The Taliban continue to mount operations in Afghanistan, using Pakistan as their headquarters. A. Q. Khan himself has been associated with Taliban sympathizers ... Saudi Arabia is a friend so long as the Saudi monarchy is in place, and there is no guarantee that this reality will last forever. Should Wahhabis become stronger, Saudi Arabia could conceivably become an enemy of the United States. The real question is whether America should gamble on a friend ruling over a population of enemies, as is the case with the Saudis, or an enemy ruling over a population of friends, as we find in Iran.