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Thread: Saudi Arabia: seeking security (catch all)

  1. #21
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The quiet war in Saudi Arabia

    Recent disorder in the Eastern Province received some coverage here and then faded away:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16543013

    This link is to a background comment, although the author is Washington-based let's say his viewpoint is slanted:http://www.opendemocracy.net/joshua-...n-saudi-arabia

    I know disorder in this reportedly mainly Shia minority dominated province has long been feared by outsiders, being adjacent to the oilfields.
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  2. #22
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default What does KSA need?

    An odd IMO BBC World Service interview with a Saudi Princess in exile in Acton, West London:
    ... there are many changes she would like to see in Saudi Arabia - but that now is not the time for women to be allowed to drive.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17446831

    If you Google Princess Basma Bint Saud Bin Abdulaziz there are similar intervews.
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  3. #23
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    In my research in the topic of radicalism in Saudi Arabia I believe I have identified one of the primary underlying issues that drive this matter. This concerns the inability for the regime to create a reconciliation between modernity and the foundational elements of the Saudi state.

    By this I refer to Abdul Aziz's utilization of the ultraconservative branch of Sunni Islam to unifying the tribes in place of what we in the west would view as nationalism. The very nature of Ibn Tamiyah's critique of progress that is latent within the doctrinal facets of Wahhabism leads to an underlying tension between material security (economy, military etc) and metaphysical security (narrative, norms, culture) within the modern Saudi state.

    The overflow effect of this, of course, is a predilection towards violent offensive Jihad within a minority of the population who seem to find their underlying ontological outlook compromised by such a pervasive paradox.

  4. #24
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Saudis to build 1k border fence

    A slightly odd BBC report, by Frank Gardner, who is in Saudi Arabia - where he was shot and crippled in 2004. This report starts with 'Saudis build 1,000-mile Yemen border fence', a 'Morice Line' again:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22086938

    His first report aims to:
    ..to unpick why the Arab Spring has not happened in the Kingdom.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22050745

    On SWC we have debated whether a fence or 'Morice Line' can work and in a variety of settings: French ruled Algeria (where the Morice Line was built), Rhodesia and Afghanistan. Not to overlook the US-Mexico border. Link:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ghlight=morice

    The Saudis of course have what other builders did not, money and more money.

    Whether a fence is enough of an answer to the pressures within Saudi Arabia is a moot point. See thread on internal troubles:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=16968
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-10-2013 at 01:04 PM.
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  5. #25
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    The Saudis of course have what other builders did not, money and more money.
    Which is the important point. Because Saudi defense/security procurement are enrichment mechanisms for Saudi royals, middlemen and various western lackeys – first. Actual needs of state, second.

    A certain % of deals goes to commissions and kickbacks – so the incentive is to run-up the biggest bill possible. And then they cant operate, service or maintain any of the equipment – so that is a new contract, and new round of kickbacks.

    Problems occur when a contract is too small for a kickback – so some particular items are not even purchased. Items like air-filters for tanks – small line item on a budget, but you cant operate tanks in the desert without them.

    I have no doubt that this wall will include billions in techno-crap.
    “[S]omething in his tone now reminded her of his explanations of asymmetric warfare, a topic in which he had a keen and abiding interest. She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries…” - Zero History, William Gibson

  6. #26
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    SA firm Denel in Saudi drone deal - South Africa's arms manufacturer Denel appears intent on selling missile-carrying drone aircraft to Saudi Arabia, by Phillip De Wet. Mail & Guardian (South Africa), 05 Apr 2013.
    According to a respected specialist newsletter, Intelligence Online, engineers from the Denel Dynamics division are working with the Saudi military to create an armed version of the Seeker 400 drone, which Denel has marketed for surveillance use. Such drones, Intelligence Online says, would be capable of carrying Denel Dynamics' Mokopa or Impi missiles.

    The Mokopa is an anti-tank missile touted for its accuracy and the Impi is intended as a multipurpose missile that can carry smaller anti-personnel payloads. The latter was developed specifically for use with lightweight aircraft.

    The Seeker 400 has a range of up to 250km, putting many Middle Eastern hot spots within range of units based in Saudi Arabia. But the primary target for Seeker missions is expected to be strikes on suspected terrorists similar to the US's infamous strikes in Pakistan. The craft can be operated for more than 16 hours at a time, making it capable of "loiter and strike" missions.
    Related? Seems a natural compliment to a border wall; plus a possible strike capability into Yemen.
    “[S]omething in his tone now reminded her of his explanations of asymmetric warfare, a topic in which he had a keen and abiding interest. She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries…” - Zero History, William Gibson

  7. #27
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    The fence project is an interesting sign of how the relationship between Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the Yemen has developed. For decades KSA has sought to maintain some control in Yemen, principally by subsides and bribes to many individuals, tribes and others. Now a fence is needed, has this influence evaporated?

    I suspect that no Saudi will actually work on building the fence, although IIRC most Yemeni were expelled after the invasion of Kuwait.
    davidbfpo

  8. #28
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Moderator's Note

    Posts 22-26 were in a stand alone thread 'Saudis to build 1k border fence' until today and have been merged into this main thread (ends).


    Saudi–Yemen barrier
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saudi%E...3Yemen_barrier


    It's not so much a fence as it is a barrier against vehicles, and it's not only about immigration but also about marking the somewhat disputed border.


    ICE Case Studies
    Number 197, Nov., 2006
    Saudi Arabia - Yemen Border Dispute
    By Chris Murphy
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-18-2013 at 11:36 AM. Reason: Add Mod's Note after merging

  9. #29
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    This thread has posts on the official Saudi programme to de-radicalise and a clearly PR article by AFP appeared today:http://english.alarabiya.net/en/pers...militants.html

    Three key facts given:
    Just under 3,000 [Islamist prisoners] will have to go through one of these centers before they can be released....a total of 2,336 Al-Qaeda prisoners have now been through Saudi rehabilitation schemes....The percentage of those who rejoin the deviant minority does not exceed 10%.
    davidbfpo

  10. #30
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Ten years on from Riyadh

    A ten point article 'The Riyadh Compound Bombings: Ten Years, and Ten Lessons, Later' by Dr. Thomas Hegghammer, from CSIS, which details:
    It is hard to overestimate the political impact of the Riyadh bombings. These caused a major shift in Saudi attitudes toward Islamist extremism and a complete overhaul of the Saudi internal security apparatus. The terrorism campaign—and the Saudi response to it—also did much to change Western perceptions of Saudi society, many of which, in retrospect, were biased and flawed. Finally, the campaign backfired against Al-Qaeda, leading to its demise as an organization in the kingdom. In short, the learning curve was steep for everyone involved. Specifically, the experience taught us ten important things about terrorism and Saudi Arabia.
    Link:http://www.aawsat.net/2013/05/article55301428

    I do wonder if the apparent success of Saudi CT plus is dependent on their wealth, few other nations could afford the options it has used.
    davidbfpo

  11. #31
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    Recently posted by Debka.com

    Disturbances sweep across E. Saudi oil region
    Despite the news blackout imposed by Riyadh, DEBKAfile reports widespread riots and clashes have been sweeping the oil-rich Eastern Provinces of Saudi Arabia between Shiite demonstrators and security forces, leaving unknown numbers of dead and wounded.
    I have no idea if this is an accurate report, but if it is then it is very important and relevant to the ongoing region wide ethnic war between Shiite and Sunnis.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-07-2013 at 07:06 PM. Reason: Copied from the wider thread The Arab World

  12. #32
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    Default Assessing Two Countering Violent Extremism Programs: Saudi Arabia’s PRAC and the Unit

    Assessing Two Countering Violent Extremism Programs: Saudi Arabia’s PRAC and the United Kingdom’s Prevent Strategy

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  13. #33
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The times are a'changing: a Wahhabi democrat

    A staunch conservative preacher in Saudi Arabia has changed his views, to the alarm of the regime:
    Mr. Awda had something akin to a conversion moment during the Arab uprisings of 2011, and since then has become a passionate promoter of democracy and civic tolerance.

    ....even published a book called “Questions of Revolution.” Promptly banned here but widely disseminated on the Internet, the book drew on Islamic texts and history to reach some very unorthodox conclusions: that democracy is the only legitimate form of government; that Islam does not permit theocracy; that separation of powers is required; that the worst despotism is that practiced in the name of religion.

    He openly declares his admiration for the democratic inclinations of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is anathema to the Saudi royals.
    Link:http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/05/wo...=67232673&_r=0
    davidbfpo

  14. #34
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A Saudi Psychologist on Jihadism and more

    A Huffington Post article, the full title being 'A Saudi Psychologist on Jihadism, Clerical Elite and Education Reform':http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph...d&ir=WorldPost

    This is a clue:
    Clinical psychologist Abdullah al-Garni serves a niche clientele: recovering jihadists. He heads the mental health division at the Mohammed bin Naif Center for Counseling and Advice, a halfway house for members of Al-Qaeda and other groups who have served prison time in Saudi Arabia or at the U.S. Government-run Guantanamo Bay detention facility.


    The most interesting Q&A is:
    Q: How did Islam come to be used as a justification for terrorism among Saudis?
    A: It is a matter of how a group of so-called clerics interpret, or misinterpret, Islam. In Surat Al 'Imran of our Holy Book, it says, "No one knows [the Qur'an's] true interpretation except God, and those who are well-grounded in knowledge say, 'We believe in it. All of it is from our Lord.'" But some clerics stop in the middle of the verse, and just say, "No one knows [the Qur'an's] true interpretation except God and those who are well-grounded in knowledge." Then they put it to you that they alone are well-grounded in knowledge, and go on to use the half-sentence as a divine mandate for their own authority. If we claim that our religion is a peaceful religion, calling for peace between nations and between religions, then these false foundations need to be addressed.
    davidbfpo

  15. #35
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Saudia Arabia: we have a problem

    This week Richard Barrett, ex-diplomat (UK & UN posts) and now with the Soufan Group, commented that trained Saudi military personnel are defecting to ISIS. He drew attention to the oddity in a February 2014 statement by the King that fighting abroad meant a five year prison sentence for citizens and seven and half years for those who serve in the military.

    His estimate, based on visits to Saudi Arabia, was that 2,500-3,000 have gone to fight; with three hundred in rehab centres (maybe intercepted before leaving or returned).

    In my background reading this week I found suggestions that the Saudi army were deploying to the northern border (maybe easier to defect then?).

    Copied to here from the current thread on Iraq.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-28-2014 at 09:26 PM.
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  16. #36
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    I wonder how this all will turn out. I don’t mean from a standpoint of what the takfiri killers will do, they will keep going until stopped or dead; but what we will do.

    It occurs to me that most if not all of our trouble, the world’s trouble, with the takfiri killers comes from one basic thing, Saudi money. Without Saudi money wahabiism would be a vile footnote and most all of its manifestations and things it influences would have to stand financially on their own, which they couldn’t do well since they aren’t as good at building economies as they are at mayhem.

    It also occurs to me that Saudi money ultimately depends upon the forbearance and goodwill of the West. If oil had become useful in the 18th Century instead of the 20th, there would not be a Saudi Arabia. Some Western country, or countries, would have just annexed the place. We allow them to keep their country and sell us the oil that they cannot extract without our help because of our sense of fair play, self determination for indigenous people and all that. They in turn use a large part of that money to finance those who would destroy us and have for decades. Noble intentions on our part don’t seem to be working out so well.

    Given that things with the takfiri killers aren’t slowing down but speeding up, can we allow this to go on? We can run ourselves ragged chasing individuals with murder on their minds for many years to come or we can do something about depriving the Saudis of their money and perhaps cut things off at the source. We will be forced into that I think.

    The question then becomes how to do it. Robert Baer wrote a book about this (I stole his ideas) years ago and suggested that oddly enough the above circumstances plus the fact that most of the Saudi oil fields are in east and in Shia areas makes Iran a natural long term ally.

    What do you guys think of all this in whole or in parts? I don’t see things going on like this for many more decades without us having to do something relatively radical.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  17. #37
    Council Member Red Rat's Avatar
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    Hard to get a good feel as to what is happening in Saudi Arabia, but patently the fissures are showing more and more there as well. Low level disorder in the Shi'a Eastern Provinces and a growing Salafists terrorism problem from the Northern Provinces.

    The latest statement from the King is a sign of the times:

    "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah ordered all necessary measures to protect the Kingdom against potential "terrorist threats," a Royal Court statement said Thursday"

    King Orders High Alert To Fight Terror
    RR

    "War is an option of difficulties"

  18. #38
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    The Saudi royal family has always played this balancing game between itself and the fundamentalist establishment. This alliance goes back hundreds of years. This is why the Saudis maintain the National Guard (which rivals the Army in size) under direct command of the King and independent of the Defense Ministry. KSA is an inherently unstable state and I would not be surprised if there is concern about the reliability of the armed forces to maintain the royal family's security in the event of a major fundamentalist offensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl
    The question then becomes how to do it. Robert Baer wrote a book about this (I stole his ideas) years ago and suggested that oddly enough the above circumstances plus the fact that most of the Saudi oil fields are in east and in Shia areas makes Iran a natural long term ally.
    I think this is one of the few times you and I are not in disagreement. Let's break out the champagne. We're already in cahoots with fundamentalist regime in Saudi Arabia and historically there's been no hesitation in supporting fundamentalist movements, so Iran seems like a good as an ally as any. It's also a larger, more stable, and more populous country than KSA - not to mention it's form of fundamentalism is more tame than Wahhabism. At some point in the near future it will be important for the US to make amends with Iran and develop an effective relationship - the instability in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan make that a necessity.
    Last edited by AmericanPride; 07-01-2014 at 03:42 PM.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

  19. #39
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Just a small war on the border with the Yemen

    A rare report spotted:http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/...0FA04620140705

    The KSA has a problem:
    The kingdom .....said in May it had detained 62 suspected al Qaeda militants with links to radicals in Syria and Yemen who it said it believed were plotting attacks on government and foreign targets in the kingdom.
    davidbfpo

  20. #40
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    Seems the KSA has an interesting way to get Saudi foreign fighters back home from Syria.

    Dozens of Saudis fighting in Syria have voluntarily surrendered to security authorities, said Sami Al-Saleh, Saudi ambassador to Jordan.
    The statement comes in the wake of the recent surrender of 28-year-old Khalaf Al-Enezi, who approached the Saudi Embassy in Amman after fighting in Syria for over 18 months.
    “Al-Enezi is not the first nor the last person to surrender at the Jordanian border,” said Saleh. “He is one of dozens of Saudi young men who were misled.”
    The Interior Ministry previously said that the Royal Court had approved a 15-day grace period for former fighters to come forward and return to the Kingdom.
    “Many young Saudis benefited from the grace period granted by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah in March,” he said. “Since that time, we have had individual cases of surrender."
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-07-2014 at 10:30 PM. Reason: Copied from the current Iraq thread

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