Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Where We Failed, Security Has Succeeded Part 1 - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Saudi Arabia in a two-month period apprehended 44 terrorists, before they had the opportunity to execute a single operation. The operation was a part of a series of crackdowns that anticipated and neutralized the extremist before they could accomplish their activities. However, this brings up the question; why are security forces successful in detecting and capturing these cells, while society has failed in ending the terrorism phenomenon?

This time last year, everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Abdullah al-Rushud, the last of the 26 wanted terrorists, was killed.

the result of a two-year war on terrorism, which saw the elimination of more than 100 terrorists, and the death of 90 civilians and 40 security, since the initial bombings took place in Riyadh in 2003. Then a new list of 36 wanted terrorists was released, followed by an entire year of security crackdowns, which prevented Al-Qaeda from carrying out a single successful operation. The flaw is obvious. From a security perspective we’ve been successful, but from a religious, educational, information, and cultural aspect we have not.

Anyone following the discourse in the Saudi society these days notes that it is very similar to what it was three years ago when the terrorists embarked on their killing spree in May 2003. After that, the whole society turned against extremism and declared war on it.

In the same year, suspicious financial and charitable institutions were shut down, and anything with a remote relationship to violence was subjected to a close scrutiny. No one wants to prevent charitable activities or religious preaching or political stands or free and honest expression. However, there should be a line that separates personal rights and causing harm to society as a whole that should not be crossed. The publishing of pictures of those who are killed in Iraq and the emotional appeals to people that will generate a new generation of angry extremists whose first target will be Saudi Arabia, both regime and society. The security aspect has relieved many of accountability because over the past two successive years, the terrorist networks failed to carry out one single successful operation. As a result, a sense of security has prevailed and the game of cat and mouse continues. Society would be wrong to continue being indifferent. This is especially true since we are seeing extremist groups that are upgrading their capabilities, seeking help from external sources, and succeeding in their recruitment and training efforts.

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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