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Cracks in the House of Saud
Frontpagemag/Washington Times ^ | 1-21-04 | Arnaud de Borchgrave

Posted on 01/21/2004 4:59:08 AM PST by SJackson

As al-Qaeda training camps are found in the Saudi desert, the royal family's days of comfortable self-delusion are over

The Saudi royal family's once limitless capacity for self-delusion is now running on empty. The most abrupt wake-up call came in recent weeks with the discovery of al Qaeda training camps in the desert near several major Saudi cities. Camouflaged as seminaries, the pseudo-clerics doubled in brass as instructors for training in both weapons and insurgency attacks.

Some 600 suspected terrorists and large quantities of guns and explosives have been captured, including hundreds of RPGs, 2,000 sticks of dynamite, and a shoulder-launched SAM-7 anti-aircraft missile. Large sums of cash from mosque charity boxes were also seized. Camel caravans from Yemen continue to smuggle weapons across hundreds of miles of empty desert.

Internal security in Saudi Arabia is entirely in the hands of members of the House of Saud. Some 7,000 princes control all the kingdom's critical nerve centers, from air force squadrons to governors' palaces. So the horrifying conclusion is that the royal family is not only divided but certain princes sympathize with Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist organization. The bin Laden family runs one of the country's principal construction conglomerates and Osama himself was a Saudi national hero in the 1980s when he recruited thousands of Saudis to fight against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Osama turned against the royal establishment after it invited U.S. forces to Saudi Arabia in 1990 to prepare for the Desert Storm operation that drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. He was eventually expelled from his country and stripped of his nationality. But he remains a legendary figure among Saudis, especially Wahhabi clergymen.

The Saudi Wahhabi clergy gets a hefty slice of the national budget and raises billions through the zakat, a 2.5 percent levy of income required by the Koran of all true believers. This extreme sect of Islam named two members of the axis of evil — America and Israel — long before President Bush came up with his three candidates: Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the Iranian theocracy and Kim Jong-il's North Korea.

Since 1979, the Wahhabi establishment has spent an estimated $70 billion on Islamist missionary work, ranging from the funding of some 10,000 madrassas in Pakistan to the construction of thousands of mosques and seminaries and community centers all over the Muslim and Western worlds. Jihad, or holy war, against Western heathens was the fundamentalist creed.

September 11, 2001, with 15 of the 19 suicide bombers Saudi subjects, did not raise the House of Saud out its complacent torpor. Collaboration with U.S. efforts to shut down Wahhabi charities suspected of being conduits for al Qaeda was, for the most part, tokenism. Al Qaeda's May and November 2003 bombings of housing compounds in Riyadh finally rang a general alarm throughout the House of Saud.

Some 2,000 Saudi Wahhabi clerics known to be preaching jihad at Friday prayers were detained and warned that if they didn't cease and desist they would be put behind bars. The government has also revoked the diplomatic passports of hundreds of Wahhabi "missionaries" who traveled the world to recruit anti-U.S. radicals for their cause.

The crackdown on the clergy convinced a number of younger princes their elders were betraying Islam. Most Saudi princes have been educated in the United States, Britain and American universities in Cairo and Beirut. But a minority followed Osama bin Laden's path and were entirely educated in Saudi Arabia, heavily influenced by Wahhabi teachings about the decadent, anti-Islam America and Israel.

Well concealed from prying Western eyes, the ruling family is in the throes of its worst crisis in its 71 years.

The founder of the dynasty, Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud, married 235 women and kept 660 concubines. Their pictures and particulars were enclosed in a huge gold-embossed album for occasional perusal during daylong Cabinet meetings that the king had a habit of interrupting. This reporter met with the founder in 1952 (he died in 53) and courtiers were proud to brag about the monarch's gargantuan sexual appetites, proof of great strength. The family is 24,000-strong today (including girls and wives).

Crown Prince Abdullah, pending the passing of King Fahd, disabled by a stroke in 1995, is acting boss. A reformist by instinct of survival, Abdullah is still limited in his ability to bring about fundamental change. He has to contend with a number of royal factions, each with its own agenda that is not necessarily reformist.

Abdullah is first deputy prime minister and commander of the National Guard, which is both Praetorian Guard and internal security force. Prince Sultan, the defense minister, and second in line for the throne, is second deputy prime minister and inspector general. He controls the armed forces and is also Minister of Aviation and chairman of Saudia, the national airline. There are a number of other powerful constituencies, such as Prince Nayef, the interior minister, who cannot be pushed around by Abdullah. Nayef, who said last year Israel's Mossad engineered the September 11 attacks on America, is the closest to the Wahhabi clergy, oversees the religious police and the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. One of Nayef's ranking officials was wounded last December in an assassination attempt.

Nayef rejects democratization, arguing "holy warriors" are not attacking Saudi Arabia because of its lack of democracy. They don't believe in democracy either, he said.

The inner workings of the House of Saud are more opaque than the Kremlin during the Cold War. But Westerners who have occupied senior positions in the kingdom for a number of years and speak Arabic say the current upheaval could easily lead to internecine conflict between rival factions who cannot seem to agree on what to do about reforms. The country's standard of living has dropped precipitously from a gross domestic product per capita of $15,000 in 1980 to $9,000 today.

Lest there be any doubt about the tacit Wahhabi-al Qaeda alliance in the U.S., a new book — "Terrorist Hunter" — is the extraordinary story of a woman who went undercover to infiltrate radical Islamic groups operating in America. Authored by "Anonymous," her real identity is now known. She is an Iraqi Jew who speaks perfect Arabic and uncovered a billion-dollar scheme wealthy Saudis set up to filter money to al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. It's later than we think.

Arnaud de Borchgrave is editor at large of The Washington Times and of United Press International.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: carlyle; goldenchain; houseofsaud; oil; saud; saudi; saudiarabia; wahhabi

1 posted on 01/21/2004 4:59:08 AM PST by SJackson
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To: SJackson
asIpredictedbump
2 posted on 01/21/2004 5:01:51 AM PST by tracer
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Yehuda; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; ...
If you'd like to be on or off this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
3 posted on 01/21/2004 5:06:11 AM PST by SJackson
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To: SJackson
"the horrifying conclusion is that the royal family is not only divided but certain princes sympathize with Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist organization"

A flair for the dramatic?

Since this has been known to everyone with any interest in the royal family, it's not horrifying or surprising news. It's business as usual for the royals.
4 posted on 01/21/2004 5:14:45 AM PST by nuconvert ( "It had only one fault. It was kind of lousy.")
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To: SJackson
Someone posted an article that claimed that pro-Saudi/Wahabi propaganda expenditures world wide have been tremendous. Does anyone remember the article or have further details with reliable sources?
5 posted on 01/21/2004 5:16:04 AM PST by risk
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To: SJackson
The President has claimed that the war in Iraq is justified, if not by WMDs, then by the prosecution of terrorists and the countries that harbor and fund them. No argument from me about that!

Some of the post State of the Union democrat spinners were asking why, then, are we not at war with Saudi Arabia. Though clearly an attempt to undermine the president, I believe that they have a good point.

6 posted on 01/21/2004 5:19:32 AM PST by TruthShallSetYouFree
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To: SJackson
They were only self delusional because they thought their complicity in aiding aq and terrorists would help protect their kingdom. My money is on them knowing the camps were there the whole time.
7 posted on 01/21/2004 5:23:47 AM PST by freeangel (freeangel)
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To: TruthShallSetYouFree
-"Some of the post State of the Union democrat spinners were asking why, then, are we not at war with Saudi Arabia. Though clearly an attempt to undermine the president, I believe that they have a good point.

because, it's not smart (yet) to isolate them and directly take them on by labelling them publicly as an enemy. There are still forces there that do not support BinLaden, and trying to help them now is the best way to go.

8 posted on 01/21/2004 5:33:01 AM PST by LibFreeUSA
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To: LibFreeUSA
Yes, help the anti-Wahabbi's quietly at first. And then louder. And, if necessary, much louder.
9 posted on 01/21/2004 5:40:50 AM PST by TruthShallSetYouFree
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To: SJackson
This is no time to entrust America--and the world--to a bunch of loose-cannon, screwball Democrat "activists".

George W. Bush MUST be re-elected President!

10 posted on 01/21/2004 6:53:44 AM PST by Savage Beast (Whom will the terrorists vote for? Not George Bush--that's for sure! ~Happy2BMe)
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To: TruthShallSetYouFree
>>>>And, if necessary, much louder<<<<

Establish Mecca Glassworks Corp.

11 posted on 01/21/2004 6:54:49 AM PST by DTA (you ain't seen nothing yet)
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To: DTA
It would make it easier to see the oil, under the glass. :)
12 posted on 01/21/2004 6:56:06 AM PST by TruthShallSetYouFree
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To: TruthShallSetYouFree
>>>>>>>-"Some of the post State of the Union democrat spinners were asking why, then, are we not at war with Saudi Arabia. Though clearly an attempt to undermine the president, I believe that they have a good point.<<<<<<

When dealing with forrest fire, a belt is cut through the woods around fire to stop the fire spreading. Iraq is such a belt, between Saudi and Iran. Bush has to be re-elected- there is no time to teach Dems ABCs of strategy.

13 posted on 01/21/2004 6:59:16 AM PST by DTA (you ain't seen nothing yet)
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To: DTA
there is no time to teach Dems ABCs of strategy

strategery

14 posted on 01/21/2004 7:04:06 AM PST by TruthShallSetYouFree
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To: TruthShallSetYouFree
"Some of the post State of the Union democrat spinners were asking why, then, are we not at war with Saudi Arabia. Though clearly an attempt to undermine the president, I believe that they have a good point."

I believe the answer to your question can be found in a small town in the Alaskan wilderness called Anwar.

The President said last night that there should be less dependence on foreign energy sources. Remove the dependency on Saudi oil will force the Saudis to take a more serious stance on terrorism.


15 posted on 01/21/2004 7:41:04 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (Gore Lost! Deal with it!!!)
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To: EQAndyBuzz
ANWAR is not a small town in Alaska, but is an acronym for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I agree with your concept, however. The dems are nothing if not two-faced. Their "logic" goes something like this:

1. Agree that we are too dependent upon foreign oil, particularly from Saudi Arabia.
2. Vote down a proposal to drill in Alaska, where huge oil deposits have been confirmed.
3. Base your refusal on some obscure environmental reasons. This serves the dual purpose of pandering to your environmental-whacko constituency, while allowing you to thwart a republican energy proposal.
4. Complain that we are still dependent upon foreign oil, particularly from Saudi Arabia?
5. Question the President's truthfulness. Why is he willing to go into Iraq, which harbors and supports terrorists, but not Saudi Arabia. The President, therefore, is inconsistent.

Of course, if we can't drill in ANWAR and don't get to import Saudi Oil, our economy will be devastated, people will freeze their butts off, and general calamity will reign. Then the dems would ask how the President could have allowed such a situation to evolve.

16 posted on 01/21/2004 7:54:47 AM PST by TruthShallSetYouFree
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To: SJackson
Arnaud de Borchgrave Bump.
17 posted on 01/21/2004 8:01:40 AM PST by DoctorMichael (Thats my story, and I'm sticking to it.)
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To: SJackson
"Well concealed from prying Western eyes, the ruling family is in the throes of its worst crisis in its 71 years. "

For some reason this sentence puts a smile on my face.

18 posted on 01/21/2004 8:41:57 AM PST by Chi-Town Lady
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To: TruthShallSetYouFree
Thank you on correcting me on Anwar. Always thought it had something to do with the location of Anwar Saddats summer home. /relax, kidding.

Well, we don't get the environmentalist vote anyway, so after this election, when there are 60 Rep senators, we open ANWAR to drilling and tell the tree huggers to shut up and sing.
19 posted on 01/21/2004 8:42:05 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (Gore Lost! Deal with it!!!)
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To: SJackson; Angelus Errare
>>>The inner workings of the House of Saud are more opaque than the Kremlin during the Cold War.

Another detailed take here.

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20040101faessay83105/michael-scott-doran/the-saudi-paradox.html

And an excellent analysis of the article by freeper AE.

http://www.regnumcrucis.blogspot.com/2003_12_28_regnumcrucis_archive.html#107293457515824710
20 posted on 01/21/2004 10:41:32 AM PST by swarthyguy
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To: SJackson
I'm gonna Bump this for the 'evening FReepers' that may have missed this.

Also, because it gives a number that I have seen time and again asked about here ar FR: The number of DIRECT DECENDENTS of ibn Saud............

The founder of the dynasty, Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud, married 235 women and kept 660 concubines. Their pictures and particulars were enclosed in a huge gold-embossed album for occasional perusal during daylong Cabinet meetings that the king had a habit of interrupting. This reporter met with the founder in 1952 (he died in 53) and courtiers were proud to brag about the monarch's gargantuan sexual appetites, proof of great strength. The family is 24,000-strong today (including girls and wives).

Arnaud de Borchgrave Bump.

21 posted on 01/21/2004 5:36:42 PM PST by DoctorMichael (Thats my story, and I'm sticking to it.)
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