Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif Bin-Abdulaziz has asserted to Asharq Al-Awsat that the Kingdom is determined to confront the Al-Qaeda threat no matter how its methods and plans change, pointing out that Saudi Arabia’s war on terror is not free from difficulties “due to the changes in the terrorists’ methods”, which he said makes those in charge of security always expecting the worst.
He underlined his country’s determination to confront terrorism both in terms of security and ideology saying, “We are determined to confront them no matter what.”
The Saudi interior minister disclosed in an exclusive interview with Asharq Al-Awsat that progress has been made in the investigations of the sources financing the terrorists inside Saudi Arabia and said, “The terrorists would not have been able to act in this way had it not been for the financial support given to them.” He added that the security organs have information which might point to the financers of “Al-Qaeda” organization in his country and said, “Many things have become available to us but they need to be completed and this is what we are doing. In the end, we hope it will not be long before we inform the public of all these facts.”
On the agreement concluded by Saudi Arabia and the United States during President George Bush’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Prince Naif said contacts with the American side to implement it were started some time ago and summed up the objective of the agreement by saying, “We wish to benefit more from the modern security technology. This is the core of the issue.” The interior minister disclosed that Saudi Arabia has received promises from the Iraqi side to hand back the Saudis detained in Iraqi territories and said Saudi Arabia had received a number of detainees through the General Intelligence Service and added, “There is still a large number of them who were not handed over. We are waiting for the Iraqi side’s fulfillment of its promises in this matter.”
Prince Naif ruled out the presence of Saudi detainees in Iran but said “persons affiliated to Al-Qaeda might be in Iran”, added that the “channels and communications between us and them are open at all levels”, and expressed his hope there would be commitment to implementing the security agreements concluded between Riyadh and Tehran. He denied reports that eight Bahrainis detained because they were in a restricted area have been accused of spying for Iran and said, “Regrettably, what comes from the internet is not based on facts and freedom of publication. The absence of a source gives them the freedom to say what they like. But this one is not true.”
The Saudi interior minister went on to mention that the ideological confrontation of terrorism in his country “is still below the required level” and said, “I believe that ideological security and ideological confrontation are not less important as security action.” After noting that educational centers in the universities, Shariaa scholars, and intellectuals have the task of confronting “Al-Qaeda’s” ideology, he said, “They should act to assert that the deviation from the right path into which these have fallen has nothing to do with religion and is harmful to Islam as it is to the citizens.”
He expressed hope that all the educational and academic establishments would carryout their role in combating terrorism ideologically so as to achieve a security-ideological strategy that is effective in confronting the terrorism ideology.