Saudi commandos cut a deal to let Al Qaeda terrorists escape and stage-managed a dramatic "rescue" of dozens of hostages at a luxury housing complex, survivors and witnesses allege.
One former hostage said he overheard the militants working to cut a deal with Saudi security forces that cordoned off the complex early Sunday.
"Let us go and we'll let the hostages go," one of the hostage-takers told Saudi authorities, the survivor said.
At least 3 hostage-takers escaped but a wounded one who is reportedly the leader of the group was captured. Was this trade-off worth making? The terrorists may well end up killing many more in a future attack.
Robin Gedye of the Daily Telegraph says domestic Saudi terrorists have escaped so many times from attacks that they must have had help from Saudi security officials or police or guardsmen or foreign workers in security agencies (or some combination thereof). (free registration required)
Time and again, when Saudi police have mounted raids on al-Qa'eda suspects, many terrorists have been able to slip away as they did on Sunday. In November, several terrorists escaped from a raid in Mecca; 10 militants vanished on Aug 10 during a gun battle with police; and last May 19 al-Qa'eda suspects shot their way out of a police trap. The inevitable conclusion over last weekend's operation is that the terrorists have often had help on the inside - help to plan the operation, help with knowledge of the area and help in escaping.
The United States government first started advising Americans to leave Saudi Arabia a year ago in response to continuing attacks. It says a lot about just how rotten the Saudi government has become that when terrorist attacks first started happening Westerners were blamed and locked up on the pretense that they were liquor black marketers. Weapons seized from Al Qaeda safehouse in Saudi Arabia on May 6, 2004 were traced back to the Saudi National Guard and it is suspected that Saudi National Guardsmen may have knowingly sold weapons to Al Qaeda operatives.
Another interesting story about the Saudi National Guard and Al Qaeda came from some former Saudi Guard trainers who worked for Vinnell Corporation, Northrup Grumman subsidiary with an interesting past in oil field construction work and CIA services. Vinnell has been training the Saudi National Guard for about a quarter of a century. Therefore its trainers have insider views of what is going on in Saudi Arabia from a security standpoint and the claims by some trainers that Saudi Guardsmen are collaborating with Al Qaeda terrorists have to be taken seriously.
* Some members of the Saudi National Guard knew about the bombing in advance and gave inside help to al-Qa'ida, including possibly a detailed map of the target.
* An "exercise" organised by the national guard removed 50 of 70 security staff for the day of the bombing, thus leaving the compound "defenceless".
If all these reports of insider help are correct then the odds are higher that at some point Saudi oil production will be disrupted by terrorist action. The main factor preventing damage to oil facilities is probably Al Qaeda's preference for killing non-Muslims. The Al Qaeda leadership may see the oil facilities as Muslim possessions that should not be damaged. Also, some wealthy Saudis who make a lot of money money either directly or indirectly from the oil flow may be telling Al Qaeda's leaders that if they damage the oil fields and ports then the money that they need for waging Jihad will be reduced.
As for what we should do about this state of affairs: My most recent beating of the drums for a better energy policy can be found in Threats To Saudi Oil Fields Argue For Better Energy Policy
The US should have an energy policy shaped much more strongly by national security considerations. A national security policy for energy should include an additional $10 billion or more per year spent on energy research as part of a recognition that the world's increasing dependence on Middle Eastern oil creates national risks for the United States.
Every time we buy gas we send money to our enemies. It is time we started doing something about that fact.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2004 June 01 09:06 PM Politics Grand Strategy|