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How Does a Saudi Become a Global Terrorist? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Strange though it may seem, the Saudi ambassador to Pakistan announced that no Saudis were among the fighters who took part in the siege of the Red Mosque recently. Perhaps he had feared otherwise, since lately Saudis have been involved in numerous acts of terrorism throughout the world.

Saudis have become a problem in this sense since it was revealed that the majority of terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks were of Saudi origin. Six years later, we see them taking part in the “Fatah al Islam” battle of Nahr al Bared, this year’s most well-known war, in which the number of Saudis killed has been estimated between three to 23 people.

Syria has reported the detention of a large number of Saudi fighters, while according to the Iraqi government; Saudis are second only to Iraqis in prisons and that hundreds of them have been killed. They were also involved in plots in Morocco, south-east Asian countries and Afghanistan where the tragedy began.

Much has been written about the “Saudi dilemma” since the leader of terrorism, Osama bin Laden, emerged, despite being born to a Syrian mother. Leadership, financing, and training have also been linked to Saudi Arabia, accusations that have some basis but are also exaggerated. However, the question raised since the 9/11 terrorist attacks is whether the Saudi individual, who was once known as the most peace-loving, is aware that he has become an international problem?

I believe that he is not aware of this problem due to the constant denial and spontaneous defense used against foreign accusations. Blame is always attached to Saudis and Saudi fundamentalism has been incriminated, despite the fact that traditional Saudi fundamentalism has no connection to terrorism, as one of its main pillars is to delegate politics to the ruler. However, “Saudi extremism” is a new entity. It is pure Salafism mixed with an imported disobedient political vision, namely from the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, Egypt and Jordan. Discussing the source of terrorism has today become an insignificant historical work of fiction because we face a gargantuan monster and three accusations: the number of Saudi fighters abroad, ideologues of extremist thought in the country and its financiers.

Here we are, unaware that “Saudi idiosyncrasies”‘ clash with the global crises. Individuality is a popular word in Saudi, used to justify the difference between its practices and the practices of other countries. In fact, any society has the right to adhere to its idiosyncrasies despite how strange it may seem to others. Americans believe in the right to bear arms, while the Dutch smoke cannabis claiming it is a personal freedom despite the criticism of the world against it.

Consequently, Saudis have the right to adhere to their conservative local idiosyncrasies; however concepts have been confused inside and outside [of the country], as the outside regard the Saudi particularity as the world’s producer of extremism, drawing evidence from the acts of its people on the ground, in mosques, libraries and schools, who export it abroad. Bearing this in mind, some Pakistani people have justified the recent crisis by blaming Saudis; an accusation that was made previously by the Indonesians, Europeans and Russians.

Although Saudi Arabia and its citizens are most active against extremist outlaws, countries that adopt and finance terrorism such as Iran have no known fighters abroad. Iran and Syria are accused of harboring Saudis and pushing them towards Iraq and now Lebanon. Therefore, any intelligence body that wants to launch a war look for Saudis at hand.

But why the Saudis, we may ask? It is because they are just mentally and politically prepared to cat like time bombs that can be manipulated by regimes with dangerous political agendas. Therefore, we should investigate why the Saudi citizen has become prepared for death for the sake of a cause whilst unaware of its nature.

Therefore, search for the sources that prepare and train people to meet their deaths. In my opinion, the problem has yet to be addressed because primarily, we should admit to the problem then search for decisive solutions. At this point, I remind you that such diseases are not cured with time nor treated by disregarding them.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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