Middle East

Trouble in the House of Saud

Arab Terrorists, Arab Victims

A women cries as she walks past a house destroyed by a terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia
A woman cries as she walks past a house destroyed in the Al-Hamra residential compound in Riyadh in May 2003 (Photo: Bilal Qabalan/AFP-Getty Images).

Placing Responsibility for the Riyadh Bombing
What has distorted the minds [of Saudi youth] to make it permissible for them to shed the blood of innocent women and children? We should probably start with the sources of ideas by placing responsibility on education, the media, mosques, and the family. They should enlighten the young on the intellectual dangers of terrorism before the real dangers of terrorism, like murder and bombing, are manifested through their fanaticism, lack of comprehending the Other, and recourse to violence as an alternative to dialogue.
—Hafiz al-Madalij, Al-Riyadh (pro-government), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 15, 2003

New Era of Frankness for Saudi TV
It is wonderful that the Saudi media are now disappointing the hopes of the terrorists as they release details and painful images of the results of the bombing of the Al-Muhaya compound. Reporters went to victims’ families to record for all to see the responses to the terrorist acts and to hospitals to take footage of wounded men, women, and children....This change in coverage has revealed what [Osama] bin Laden and his group do..., subsequently waking people up to the reality. The viewing public no longer sees the image of the mujahedeen who fight infidels but rather the image of the criminal terrorist who kills believers....The time for forbearance... is over for the Saudi media. It’s time for a new era of revelation and frankness to dawn.
—Ahmad al-Jar Allah, Al-Seyassah (pro-government), Kuwait City, Kuwait, Nov. 20, 2003

Economic and Symbolic Importance
Why the malicious urgency to destroy security and stability in Saudi Arabia? It is a symbol of stability and economic freedom in an Arab world of wretched politics and economies. It accommodates upward of 3 million Arab workers who live there and permits them to transfer billions of dollars ...to their families in nearly impoverished Arab societies. Another reason Saudi Arabia is an important symbol is that the Saudi state serves and protects the holy symbols [in Mecca and Medina] for 1.3 billion Muslims.
—Ghassan al-Imam, Al-Sharq al-Awsat (Saudi-owned), London, England, Nov. 18, 2003

Resistance vs. Terrorism
The Arab world is facing a great quandary: the relationship between terrorism and resistance. There is no disputing the right of a people to resist foreign occupation with force, and this is indeed what is happening in Palestine and Iraq. Likewise, there is no dispute over the idea that using armed violence to impose political viewpoints is completely rejected. Yet...it seems that the forces that rise up in resistance to foreign occupation are the same ones that instigate terrorism in our societies and occasionally push them to the brink of civil war....No one wants to talk about this issue because it would seem to be adopting the American interpretation of the spread of terrorism in our nations, or because it would seem to delegitimize the right of resistance at a time when Israeli state terrorism has reached such severe levels.
—Abd al-Munim Said, Al-Watan (pro-government), Abha, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 20, 2003

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