The battle at Islam’s heart
Published 01 November 2007
In November 1979, armed militants took over Mecca’s Sacred Mosque. Their actions still reverberate throughout the Muslim world.
On the eve of Islam’s 15th century, the Masjid al-Haram (Sacred Mosque) in Mecca was overflowing with worshippers from all over the world. The atmosphere was joyous, and there was much talk in the Holy City and site of pilgrimage of resurgence and a new dawn. Many of Mecca’s inhabitants, who normally avoid going to the Sacred Mosque during festivals, so as to avoid overcrowding, also joined the congregation on this special occasion. Most stayed up all night to read the Quran and then joined the early-morning prayers. As soon as the prayers finished, gunshots rang out. A group of heavily armed men took over the mosque. They announced that “the Mahdi” (redeemer) had arrived to purify Islam and bolted all 39 doors to the mosque, trapping more than 100,000 worshippers inside.
After a week of horrendously savage combat, it was clear that the Saudis needed help. They turned to their foremost allies: the United States and the CIA. A horde of CIA operatives was quickly converted to Islam so that they could enter the Holy City to assess the battlefield for themselves. They recommended chemical warfare. Potent tear gas was pumped into the Qaboo through its various entrances, but the exercise turned into a fiasco.
Hardened rebel fighters were able to shield themselves with mattresses, cardboard and cloth and prevented the gas from spreading into narrow underground corridors. Their water-soaked headdresses protected their breathing. The gas had a natural tendency to rise, so it came up to the compound of the mosque - where the Saudi soldiers were ill-prepared to use gas masks. Their generous facial hair prevented the masks from sealing on the skin: the gas seeped through their beards and knocked out a large contingent. Then it made its way to the surrounding area, and most of Mecca had to be evacuated...
‘A horde of CIA operatives was quickly converted to islam...’
LOL! thanks for the tip, I knew nothing of this.
Otherwise pretty accurate, but, there was no horde of CIA operatives. The Saudis didn’t dare use just any old body, and particularly not the CIA, and particularly not after mobs of brainless, hateful, Moslem hoodlums destroyed or attacked US embassies in Pakistan, Libya, etc, under the influence of official “news” accounts in their countries that the US and Israel were behind the seizure of the mosque.
Oddly enough, aerial surveillance of the mosque was conducted by some American personnel, but that was a backchannel way for the US gov’t to find out just what the hell was going on. The Saudis persisted in obfuscation, obstruction, and denial, and were enraged when US sources broke the story of the siege.
Anyway, instead of the CIA, the Saudis called on the French gov’t, which sent over just a bare handful (I think three) covert operatives, who got a handle on how to make the attacks (the Saudi armed forces and police had gotten nowhere, and the inside of the mosque was slobbered with their blood), and the final, successful assault was made.
It was still terribly bloody, but the Muz-hole claiming to be the mahdi believed himself invincible (he and the rest of his group also thought the hostages could subsist on the waters of the Zamzam spring, and those waters were also the only “medicine” used for wounds and whatnot). He kept running over to pick up grenades and toss them back at the attackers. The last time he tried it, uh, it didn’t work. After the denouement, the surviving a-holes were shown the body of the “mahdi”, which destroyed them psychologically. Some (but not all) of the other ringleaders were tried and executed.
The good news is, some of those f-heads were American converts who were afterward released back to the US, and they’re wandering around here. I believe there were some from Australia also. Most were from various Arabian states and Egypt.
-apropos of nothing-