Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Terrorism between Yemen and Iran - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

With the issuance of a list of 85 most wanted on charges of affiliation to Al Qaeda and planning to carry out acts of aggression against Saudi Arabia and Jordan by the Saudi Ministry of Interior, an interesting observation has emerged which is that the most prominent geographical regions that those on the list are located in are Yemen and Iran.

Approximately 41 percent of those included on the list and who were recently under surveillance were either on Iranian soil or located in the Iranian-Afghan-Pakistani triangle. It is strange that the new members of Al Qaeda have only begun entering Iranian territory in the last 5 months, and did not do so following the events of September 11th 2001, or after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

When we say that this is strange it is because the flight of Al Qaeda members to Yemen is understandable due to the presence of regions in Yemen that are outside of governmental control. Al Qaeda is able to use these desert and mountainous regions as training camps, not to mention the tribal dimensions [of the country]. This is why we have seen the Yemeni President touring the country in order to meet different tribes and emphasize the dangers of Al Qaeda’s [presence in Yemen], and the necessity of combating it.

What is disconcerting is one enemy embracing another, especially since the enmity that exists between Al Qaeda and Iran is sectarian. Al Qaeda’s hostility towards Iran has often been shown in its literature, and Iran has continually used the name of Al Qaeda, both internally and externally, to insult Saudi Arabia, and combat Sunni ideology in the Arab and Islamic world, and indeed even in the West.

And so the reason for surprise is that Iran, as a centralized country whose control and influence extends over its entire territory, and who is also currently at the height of its information-gathering ability, cannot have failed to notice Al Qaeda’s presence!

This issue makes it important to find out what happened and is happening to Al Qaeda in Iraq, for the terrorist organization could not have achieved all it did in Iraq without the support of a specific sate. The same goes for [Al Qaeda in] Lebanon, especially with regards to the events of Nahr al-Bared.

This issue also makes it important to pay attention to another alliance that can be clearly seen in our region between Iran and a large trend within the Muslim Brotherhood, this is why we must earnestly study the ideology of Al Qaeda and its true religious roots in order to uncover the dimensions of this problem.

What must be said at this juncture, and especially to the Saudis, is that the pursuit of those on the most wanted list must not blind Saudi Arabia to the importance of paying [close] attention to those that incited them, and exploit every regional crisis, even Palestine, in order to instigate these youths.

The age of some of those included on the list of most wanted is shocking, especially when it becomes clear that some of them were just children when the events of 9/11 took place.

We all are conscious and aware of the great effort that was undertaken in Saudi Arabia to combat such deviant ideology. However the problem is that this ideological battle is not fought fiercely [enough], and just as fire is born from the smallest of sparks, terrorism comes to pass from the smallest of lapses. Therefore certain behavior and views must be isolated and condemned by the state.

Terrorism in its essence is not so much a religious undertaking as it is a violation of the authority of the state.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

More Posts