Writing in the Jerusalem Post Paris-based Iranian writer Amir Taheri describes the battles within Saudi Arabia between the government and Islamic insurgents.
According to Saudi sources, the kingdom's security forces have clashed with terrorists on no fewer than 80 occasions since last November. Some of these seem to have been fairly large-scale battles, including at least one fought on the edge of the Empty Quarter six weeks ago. There have been hundreds of casualties on both sides. More than 1,000 alleged terrorists have been captured. The security forces have also uncovered arms caches that could supply fairly large terror units. Losses by the security forces are not reported, but a recent meeting between the interior minister and families of the "heroes slain by deviants" attracted a large turnout.
Oil money has funded the educational system that has done so much to promote the radical Wahhabi Islam that has turned so many Muslims toward violence.
In 1960 the kingdom did not have enough money for a single state-sponsored school of theology. Today there are hundreds, including three universities producing tens of thousands of Islam "experts" each year.
Who paid for all those Islamic religious fundamentalist schools? We did, every time we pulled up to a gas pump to fill it up. We are still doing it.
But Mohammed Mohammed Ali, a moderate Shiite scholar propagating interfaith harmony as the only possible means to bring peace to Iraq, does not see things that way.
"In the last 10 years there have been huge transfers of funds to Iraq to make Muslims convert from their own sect to extreme Wahhabism," he said. "This happened with the support from politicians in the Gulf states and many other Arab countries."
At the risk of boring my regular readers with repetition: Energy policy is national security policy. By failing to try harder to develop technologies to obsolesce oil we are failing to address a serious national security problem.
Update: Attacks within Saudi Arabia that are killing Saudis are not dulling the enthusiasm of the Saudi citizenry for attacks against Americans elsewhere. Even as they cheer Jihadis who attack Americans most Saudis are disgusted by the Jihadis who kill Saudi Arabians.
"When people see Israeli operations in Palestine and the American cruelty in Iraq, they feel angry and frustrated," said Abdullah Bejad al-Oteibi, a former fundamentalist now working as a legal researcher. "They cannot control their anger and they admire bin Laden, so that is why many people volunteer for jihad. But when there are operations here, people feel angry and betrayed."
The Saudi problem is not going to go away. Hence the need to treat energy policy as natioanl security policy. We can accelerate the rate of advance of science and technology as a way to greatly lessen the problem that Saudi Arabia will continue to pose for many years to come.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2004 May 03 02:41 AM Religion Secular Ideologies|