Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – The Saudi Interior Ministry yesterday said that the exchange of security information between states is the basis for combating Al Qaeda terrorists. This comes in the framework of the Saudi Interior Ministry’s contribution to uncovering the parcel bombs that were intercepted on a plane flying between Yemen and Chicago via the UAE.
Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour al-Turki confirmed that Saudi Arabia believes in the importance of exchanging information between states in order to confront and combat terrorism. In response to a question about Saudi Arabia’s role in exposing the parcel bomb threat during a telephone interview with Asharq Al-Awsat yesterday, Major General al-Turki said that “Saudi Arabia believes in the importance of exchanging security information, of a strategic nature, at the required speed, as the basis of counter-terrorism”.
However Major General al-Turki refused to reveal the nature of the security information that was passed on to security networks in the United States, Britain, Yemen and the UAE.
Security experts speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity confirmed that Riyadh dealt with the information that it received in a highly professional manner. In the opinion of these experts, Saudi Arabia’s role allowed the US security agencies to gain possession of these packages before they could reach the terrorist groups that were preparing to receive them. The security sources stressed that Saudi Arabia acted in a timely manner to allow Washington to detect this terrorist plot and foil it.
President Barack Obama thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz for the “critical role” played by Saudi authorities in uncovering the parcel bomb threat and averting attacks. The White House revealed yesterday that “the president expressed his strong appreciation for the critical role played by Saudi counterterrorism officials in averting this attempted attack.”
This is not the first time that Saudi Arabia has provided countries with information that has assisted them in detecting terrorist plots, or alerting them of potential attacks.
Washington’s disclosure of Riyadh’s contribution to thwarting this terrorist plot comes just 10 days after French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux thanked Riyadh for information which indicated that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was targeting Europe and France in particular.
US officials linked this plot to AQAP. This plot, which reportedly targeted a number of European capital cities, and Paris in particularly, in addition to the most recent parcel bomb plot – which has also been linked to AQAP – demonstrates the threat posed by this group, and the efficiency of the counter-terrorist operations undertaken by Saudi Arabia in its fight against AQAP, which is located in Yemen. Saudi Arabia has already been successful in identifying and expelling all Al Qaeda leaders from its territory.