June 20, 2005

Al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia

I'm not sure who Saad al-Faqih is—the head, it seems of a Saudi opposition group—or what how credible he is, but the Jamestown Foundation thought enough of him to get his perspective on al-Qaeda and its goings-on in Saudi Arabia. Read the whole interview, it's quite informative. His take is that AQ goofed last year by attacking Saudi civilians and hence provoking a crackdown by security forces. "Al-Qaeda," Faqih says, "has lost ground militarily, politically and ideologically." So now the group needs some way of regaining credibility, and in that vein, Saudi intelligence is hearing that 200 jihadis have returned from Iraq and are preparing to attack the royal family, which could be the boost al-Qaeda needs.

Hmmm. Now we often hear scholars like Gilles Kepel make the case that Islamic terrorism is inherently unpopular, and will eventually defeat and discredit itself in the long run. The only thing that can save it is if, say, the United States feels the need to suddenly start invading Middle Eastern countries, kicking up hornets' nests, and so creating a whole new generation of jihadists. Case in point, I guess.
-- Brad Plumer 5:13 PM || ||