Mohammed Atiq al Awfi, who surrendered himself to Saudi authorities last February, made some interesting confessions on Saudi television last Friday. These confessions revealed some elements of one of the most important aspects of terrorist operations; funding. They also revealed the aim of Al Qaeda’s media strategy.
Al Awfi’s confessions confirmed many matters that were often mentioned but not verified regarding the role that some Arab and regional countries play in funding Al Qaeda whether in Saudi Arabia or Yemen, close to the Saudi borders.
Moreover, al Awfi’s confessions confirmed that all attempts to refine the speech that he delivered when he fled to Yemen were aimed at striking a blow to the efforts of Saudi authorities, which have succeeded tremendously in the fight against terror and have become an international testimony to the professionalism and efficiency of the Saudi security forces.
Al Awfi’s confessions show that the fundamental aim of the states that fund Al Qaeda was to continue to subject Saudi Arabia to the pressure of the terrorist threat, therefore, one the one hand, making Saudi Arabia appear as if it is a country that lacks stability, and on the other hand to attach, and consolidate, the accusation of terrorism to Saudis.
Al Qaeda has strived for this ever since the 9/11 attacks in America, as it was keen to make most of the hijackers Saudi. Since then, we have been witnessing efforts to attach the accusation of terrorism to Saudi Arabia not by the West inasmuch as we see these efforts being exerted by Iran and its allies in the region.
Of course the Saudis, all Saudis, must always remember that the responsibility of the reputation, security and stability of their country falls primarily on their shoulders regardless of the number of opponents. Therefore, extremism in all its forms must be rejected and tackled from the roots.
And this is what the Saudi leadership adhered to on all levels without showing any leniency; in fact it achieved a number of notable successes. However, dealing with the roots of the ideology remains, which is a matter that the Saudi leadership has always spoken of and which also requires efforts from scholars and intellectuals.
This is with regards to the Saudis. However, on the other hand, some neighboring countries must realize and remember that those who play with the fire of extremism and try to exploit it for their own political disputes, or even political battles, are going to get burnt.
Playing with the fire of extremism is reckless, and history has proved that it always comes back to burn those who play with it. This is what some capital cities witnessed after they found it easy [to ferment trouble] after the collapse of the Iraqi regime. That’s not all; what is yet to come will be more important to them, especially if they are serious about solving important issues such as the peace process etc.
As for the regional countries that are trying to upset Saudi security with the help of the real manipulative triangle in the Arab world, without naming names, their fundamental and final goal will not be Saudi Arabia alone, in spite of the delusions of some parties.
The real goal is to pounce upon the Gulf States and their wealth. This is difficult today as long as Saudi Arabia remains strong and stable, as it presents a real obstacle to those regional ambitions.
Therefore, al Awfi’s confessions must serve as an alarm bell that warns against the threat that Al Qaeda and the Arab and regional countries that support it pose, regardless of the big difference between them and the Al Qaeda organization regarding creed and ideology, as it has become clear that their goal is to target our stability and security.