Friday, August 15, 2003

Checkmate in Saudi Arabia
On the stage of history, the definition of events carries great importance. For the definition informs the words and phrases that document. The documents of events carry the news beyond the immediate area of influence into the wider world and so inform the response. In Saudi Arabia we are told that there is a terrorist threat. That word 'terrorist ' carries the connotations of a tiny group of extremists struggling using the weapons of fear and destruction to get their message out, to lash out at the society they perceive is corrupt or attacking them. This is the definition of the violent events in Saudi Arabia; terrorism. And while in one respect I can agree with the term, there certainly was terrorism ongoing in King Fahd’s realm; I think were being fooled if we still think it just terrorism.

The definition of events carries great importance, and what is happening in Saudi Arabia needs redefining; for terrorism now read insurrection, guerrilla conflict and a looming civil war. The small explosive devices targeting westerners in the past have given way to massive car bombs intended to destroy whole complexes. The random targeting of infidels has given way to targeted military strikes. A good example would be the bombing of the 12th May bombings of expatriate compounds. Research by From the Wilderness uncovered information that the target of the bombing was anything other than a random release of pent-up fury towards the west. The bomb targeted the employees of the Vinnell Corporation (now a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman). The corporation is considered one of the best paramilitary training enterprises in the world and is linked to other mercenary firms as well as the CIA. There are in the Gulf to train the Saudi Gestapo. From a military perspective this action has many historical parallels in the annuals of insurrection, such as the (original) IRA killing 14 British Officers of the Secret Service during the Irish war of independence against the British in 1920. When you are stepping up for a war, you need to blind your enemy; Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese strategist put it succinctly, "Intelligence is the most important work, because the entire force relies on it for every move."

While granted, in the past the tactics of Bin Laden's people have been to hold to ransom the Saudi sate, in hind sight this seems to be been nothing more that the preparation time. As Saudi Arabia (with the US and Pakistani states) funded the militant Islamic fighters during the 1980s, they were unwittingly busy building the forces who would one day be turned against them. The corrupt Saudi royal family was always the target and being cunning, the Islamic militants used the decade of electro-pop to get armed, experienced, motivated and effective; at the expense of their target. Sun Tzu, also noted this strategy; "Clever leaders endeavour to use their opponent's resources."

An unexpected hiccup in the plans to overthrow King Fahd was the presence of a US military garrison placed in the country during the first Gulf War. Bin Laden raged against his former allies over the infidel troops on holy soil. In religious terms he might have found the infidels presence a abominations, but militarily it must have been a disaster. Without the removal of the US troops, he could not make his move. Thus he set about forming an international group, but with a covert localised aim; the removal of foreign troops from holy soil. Into this fight he recruited others of like mind. The events of September 11th, whether deliberate or not, has seen the US troops being pulled out of Saudi Arabia. What began as a terrorist campaign is now going guerrilla; typical example is on the day I write this 5 Saudi security forces being killed in a shootout. Three days prior to this, four policemen and a Muslim militant were killed in clashes in Riyadh. I believe the evidence points to this being the opening stages of a civil war , ask Sun Tzu; "Those who are victorious fight like pent-up waters that seem to burst down a gorge from high above. Such a position can defeat any opposing force." Thus is the war of states the fuel for the war within states. In the global game of chess Bin Laden has got the Saudi’s in check.

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