Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – Saudi Arabia has reaffirmed its commitment to combating terrorism and Al Qaeda with the same force and momentum that has characterized its security operations since the first Al Qaeda operation on Saudi soil. The Saudi Arabian security forces war on Al Qaeda began following Al Qaeda’s first major operation, the Riyadh Compound Bombings on 12 May 2003.
This assertion comes after the US State Department issued a memorandum a few days ago authorizing the return of all family members of US Embassy staff in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dhahran to return to Saudi Arabia. However the US continued to warn citizens about the security situation in Saudi Arabia, and called on US travellers in the country to follow the recommended security precautions.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the Saudi government and its security apparatus is committed to combating terrorism with the same strength that has characterized its security operation since it first began combating terrorism and terrorists.
In a telephone interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Spokesman for the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Osama Naqli told Asharq Al-Awsat that his country “is committed to combating terrorism and ensuring the security of the country and its citizens and residents, and [also] ensuring international peace and security.”
Commenting on the US State Department report, al-Naqli stressed that Saudi Arabia is committed to combating terrorism and eliminating it. He said “the government of Saudi Arabia and the security apparatus are committed to this effort and eradicating this phenomenon at its roots, including [terrorist] operations, ideology, and financing.”
This declaration from the Saudi Foreign Ministry is a clear indication to the absence of any threat from the Al Qaeda organization on Saudi territory, which is something stressed by Saudi officials.
This American report, which indicates an improvement in the general security situation in Saudi Arabia, and in the Riyadh and Al-Sharqiya governorates in particular, comes just weeks after the Saudi Interior Ministry announced that 19 terrorist cells had been uncovered [during 2010], resulting in the arrest of 149 terrorist suspects who were planning terrorist operations targeting, “foreign nationals” according to the Ministry of Interior.
Al-Naqli also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Saudi Arabia is targeted by terrorists, as is the case with all countries around the world.” He added that “Riyadh is committed and serious about combating this dangerous phenomenon, and its efforts in this regard have been clear and productive, and it has received international appreciation for this.”
Al-Naqli also stressed that Saudi Arabia “will not stop its effort to combat terrorism until this phenomenon is completely eradicated, and this effort will continue with the same force and momentum that has characterized the [previous] security operations to combat terrorism.”