Friday, April 27, 2007
The Saudis uncovered a major internal al-Qaeda plot with both Saudis and and foreign nationals among the people arrested
The Saudis arrested 172 `militants' involved in the plot ( yes,the WAPO still refuses to use the `t' word).
The terrorist cell included some members whom had trained abroad as pilots so they could fly aircraft in attacks on Saudi Arabia's “public figures, oil facilities, refineries and military zones” according to interior ministry spokesman Brig. Mansour al-Turki.
"They had reached an advance stage of readiness and what remained only was to set the zero hour for their attacks...They had the personnel, the money, the arms. Almost all the elements for terror attacks were complete except for setting the zero hour for the attacks."
The terrorists also planned to storm Saudi prisons to free the inmates, the statement said. The Saudi state TV channel Al-Ekhbariah broadcast footage of large weapons caches being dug up in the desert. The arms included bricks of plastic explosives, ammunition cartridges, handguns and rifles wrapped in plastic sheeting.
There were also large amounts of money seized, with amounts quoted ranging from $5.3 million to over $32.4 million, depending on whom you believe.
This was obviously a well planned and well financed operation, designed to hit atthe Saudi royals and wreak havoc on an already volatile oil market.
So, what's behind all this and what does it signify?
For all of the reputation they have, al-Qaeda are, for the most part, subcontractors who would have major problems operating without the havens, financing and support they enjoy from nation-states in the Muslims world who use them as shock troops in the jihad against the West.
So there are several ways to look at this, especially given the well financed and highly organized nature of the plot. Especially significant are the attempted release of terrorists already incarcerated by the Saudis and the targeting of officials for assassination.
I've had several sources in the Middle East relate to me this morning that this was a double cross against the Saudi royals by Iran, and that this operation was supported and linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guards who are trying to foment rebellion in Saudi Arabia's oppressed Shiite minority in the Kingdom's Eastern Persian Gulf Provinces - which is where the Saudi oil is.
If this is true, it would be a major shock to the Saudis, who thought all of these matters were arranged at the Riyadh summit. A major strike against the Saudi oilfields would, of course, benefit Iran because of higher oil prices, and the Mullahs definitely need capital for their nuclear programs and their conventional military.But it would also jeopardize their now friendly relations with the Sunni autocrats stemming from Riyadh....
I heard from at least one source that the plot was a reaction to a supposed Saudi double cross, a `sign off' on a US strike against Iran set for this summer. That's certainly not impossible.
It's also not impossible that the oil fields weren't a target at all, and this was an attempted coup.
In any event, the wheels are turning, and I need to do some more digging. Obviously when the Saudis interrogate some of the prisoners, more will come to light.
This has the earmarks of one of those far-reaching, turning point type stories.
Posted by Freedom Fighter at 9:30 AM