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Old 09-25-2014   #41
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Default So many Saudis support the aims of ISIS

Within a broad article by Peter Oborne, a British journalist writing in a US outlet, was this snippet, with my emphasis in bold:
Quote:
This is because ISIS is not a mutation of Islam, as Obama has asserted. It is all too faithful to the literalist Saudi interpretation of Sunni Islam as set out by its 18th-century founder Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab. Hence the extraordinary popularity of ISIS within Saudi Arabia itself. According to a recent poll in the Saudi-funded Arab newspaper Al-Hayat, an astonishing 92% of Saudis believe that ISIS conforms to the values of Islam and Islamic law.
Link:http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/...e-on-the-west/

Even leaving aside my sceptcism of polling in a place like KSA we know there is support for a harsh version of Islam, not to that extent.
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Old 09-26-2014   #42
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David,

It's an open secret that Wahhabism as defined by the Saudis is the state ideology of the kingdom. The clerical establishment is given great leeway and deference, as well as practical control over many of the government's ministries, including education. What is the difference between the extremists in the Saudi government and the extremists picking up arms in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere? And we should also question exactly what information the Saudi population receives about ISIS anyways - what's being said in the mosques and the schools? Given the widespread discontent in KSA, it would not surprise me at all that Saudi supportive opinion of ISIS is well north of 50%.
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Old 01-05-2015   #43
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Default ISIS incursion into KSA

From Twitter referring to a Saudi MInistry of Information press release:
Quote:
MoI gives more detail of IS infiltration attempt. 2 killed when confronted by BG patrol 1 used SVEST during attempt to convince to surrender.
Two more killed after being surrounded inside Saudi Territory with one using SVEST. They carried grenades, assault riffles, and SVEST's cash
I understand ISIS hates the KSA regime, but why try this?

(Added) A little more in the NYT, minus anything to say it was ISIS:www.nytimes.com/2015/01/06/world/middleeast/saudis-report-deadly-border-clash-with-infiltrators-from-iraq.html?
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Old 01-05-2015   #44
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Default The missiles we overlook: the Saudi's SSM

The Chinese surface to surface missiles (SSM) that the Saudi Strategic Missile Force have are IMHO overlooked, so good to see a review article with many links by a counter-proliferation SME:http://www.nti.org/analysis/articles...les-its-saber/

Quote:
Saudi Arabia clearly envisions its strategic missile force as a deterrent to the growing missile arsenals of its neighbors....Analysis of new bases near Ad-Dawadmi and Ash-Shamli suggest that Tel Aviv and Tehran remain the most important strategic targets for the Saudi Strategic Missile Force.....Some Saudi clerics and analysts describe the Houthi threat as more dangerous to the stability of the Kingdom than even the Islamic State. Like Iran, Yemen has purchased a significant number of Scud missiles from North Korea that might threaten Saudi Arabia if the government were to become hostile.

(Ends with) It is hardly surprising that, in such an environment, Saudi Arabia would seek to improve its ability to deter missile attacks. The display of the DF-3 missiles, along with Saudi Arabia's generally increased openness about its missile capabilities, is intended to ensure that those capabilities will be well enough understood by potential adversaries for Riyadh to enjoy their full deterrent value
Well that is reassuring or is it?

There are two other threads on Saudi Arabia, one on the sometimes fraught relationship with the USA and another on internal security. I expect there are posts elsewhere, notably over the reaction to a likely Iranian nuclear weapon capability.
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Old 01-07-2015   #45
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Default ISIS incursion into KSA: the target?

Quote:
It later emerged that one of the dead soldiers was no ordinary border guard but the commander of Saudi Arabia’s northern border forces, Brigadier General Awdah al-Balawi. This suggests that the attack, far from being random or opportunistic, had been carefully targeted and perhaps based on inside information regarding the general’s whereabouts.
Link:http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...cal-links-isis

The wider problem:
Quote:
...it is in no position to confront Isis at the ideological level. The problem here is that Isis and the Saudis’ Islamic kingdom are ideologically similar, so attempts to challenge Isis on ideological grounds risk undermining the Saudi state too.
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Old 01-15-2015   #46
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Default Another wall: to keep people in or out?

Quote:
The Saudis are building a 600-mile-long “Great Wall” - a combined fence and ditch - to separates the country from Iraq to the north. ....The proposal had been discussed since 2006, at the height of the Iraqi civil war, but work began in September last year after Isil’s charge through much of the west and north of the country gave it a substantial land border with the Kingdom to the south.
Link, which ahs a map and graphic:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...-out-Isil.html
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Old 01-19-2015   #47
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Default Saudi Arabia Plunges into an Abyss

Originally posted under Middle East General, but on second thought I believe it deserves it own thread for awhile.

John Robb provides an analysis on the ISIS attack on Saudi that is both interesting and flawed. He loses credibility when he implies ISIS coordinated the Paris attacks instead of ISIS's competitor for the Caliphate which is al-Qaeda. Nonetheless, the rest of the analysis is thought provoking.

Robb suggests the reduction of oil prices is principally directed at ISIS, but if ISIS picks up their operations the price of oil could quickly soar to $150.00 a barrel. That would result in weakening the West economically and strengthening ISIS (and Russia), so embracing the State Department's version of strategy, gee I hope that doesn't happen.

Robb also makes an interesting point that ISIS needs to keep moving to stay alive (attract recruits and funding). Overstated in some aspects, but I tend to agree there is an element of truth in this, which is why AQAP was quick to claim responsibility for the attacks in Paris. We now have market based jihad, where competitors are seeking to dominate the jihad market (recruits and funding). So far the competition is based on a zero-sum approach versus a win-win approach. I could see a future where the larger company buys out the smaller companies, but that will take time.

http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/...-an-abyss.html

Quote:
Here why this attack is significant.

It tells us that ISIS is starting to focus on Saudi Arabia --> with good reason. The reason is that there's simply no other way to unite the various groups under the ISIS banner. ISIS, like all open source movements, needs to keep moving in order to stay alive (like a shark). Right now, ISIS has stalled. A jihad to retake the holy sites from the corrupt regime in Riyadh can serve as a simple plausible promise that can reignite the open source war ISIS started, on a global scale.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-22-2015 at 09:57 PM. Reason: Was in a small standalone thread and merged to main thread
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Old 01-19-2015   #48
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From this armchair KSA is simply not as united against ISIS as the regime thinks or we hope. Yes it has money, an authentic religious regime, a robust internal security apparatus and more. On the downside a number of Saudi military have gone to fight with ISIS (Post 33) and even with some doubts over accuracy (from Post 39):
Quote:
According to a recent poll in the Saudi-funded Arab newspaper Al-Hayat, an astonishing 92% of Saudis believe that ISIS conforms to the values of Islam and Islamic law.
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Old 01-22-2015   #49
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Default Comparing Daesh and KSA legal punishments

A WaPo article 'How Saudi Arabia’s harsh legal punishments compare to the Islamic State’s', from which the Twitter image originates from. As the author concludes relationships with partners are rarely completly "black -v- white" regarding common standards:
Quote:
...for many Americans, the extremist group's rise is also bringing with it a renewed skepticism about American allies in the region.
Link:http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...slamic-states/

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Old 01-23-2015   #50
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Default After the King

Two very different viewpoints on Saudi Arabia today, after the death of the King (in de facto power since 1995). One from The Soufan Group:http://soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrie...ath-of-a-king/ and the second from The Guardian:http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...-saudi-arabia?
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Old 01-29-2015   #51
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Default Did ISIS strike across the border?

From Newsweek:
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Dozens of Islamic State (ISIS) fighters have infiltrated (Rafha) a Saudi Arabian border town via Iraq before melting away into the general population, according to claims by the terror group’s supporters on social media.
Link:http://www.newsweek.com/isis-attack-...te-town-302652

Wiki shows Rafha as having 80k inhabitants in 2010 and it is located close to the border. You may have to alter the scale to see the location:http://www.maplandia.com/saudi-arabi...rontier/rafha/
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Old 02-02-2015   #52
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A rather breathless CNN reporter is on the Saudi-Yemen border with the Saudi border police. He gives some stats, 42k illegal perons detained in six months, including children smuggling Qat across - leaving unexplained who for - and in three months 500k tonnes of Qat seized.
Link:http://edition.cnn.com/videos/us/201...men-border.cnn
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Old 02-11-2015   #53
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A short round up by WINEP, which includes this - which I'd not seen before about the Iraqi-Saudi cross-border raid by ISIS In January:
Quote:
...one of the four Saudi militants who attacked the kingdom's border from Iraq in January had been previously arrested for al-Qaeda ties. He was eventually released on bail, according to Saudi authorities.
Link:http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/p...orm-new-threat
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Old 03-02-2015   #54
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Default A rare look inside a Saudi prison

A WaPo journalist visits a Saudi jail for terrorists undergoing rehab:http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...wpmk=MK0000203

How effective is this?
Quote:
Gen. Mansour al-Turki, spokesman for the powerful Ministry of Interior, whose Mabahith secret police run the five high-security prisons....Turki said that about 20 percent of those who have gone through the rehabilitation program have returned to terrorism-related activities. Many rights activists think the failure rate is higher than Saudi officials admit.
Note in 2013 (Post 28) this was the failure rate:
Quote:
The percentage of those who rejoin the deviant minority does not exceed 10%.
So if we accept officialdom's statement the programme now has higher failure rate!
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Old 05-01-2015   #55
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Default KSA weakened?

An overview of KSA after the Yemeni operation, by a British SME, Alastair Crooke:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alasta...b_7163776.html
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Old 05-06-2015   #56
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Default Saudi Arabia is emerging as the new Arab superpower

Not my title, but that in The Daily Telegraph and a short piece by:
Quote:
Nawaf Obaid is a Visiting Fellow and Associate Instructor at Harvard Kennedy School and a former strategic affairs advisor to the Saudi government.
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...uperpower.html

Hardvard bio:http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/...waf_obaid.html

To date the interventioin in the Yemen hardly appears positive, ah well the Saudis will learn (again) and of course few nations have offered to shed their blood.
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Old 06-29-2015   #57
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Default KSA is preparing itself in case Iran develops nuclear weapons

Another article by Nawaf Obaid (bio in previous post) and is hardly reassuring:
Quote:
Saudi Arabia has for past several years been laying the groundwork for a civil nuclear program with no PMDs (possible military dimensions). However, there is a strong possibility that the Kingdom might begin to engage in contingency planning for a defensive nuclear program with PMDs. This planning represents an emerging Saudi nuclear defence doctrine.

(Later) None should doubt that the Saudi scientific community possesses the know-how and technical infrastructure to realize this nuclear defense doctrine
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/gene...r-weapons.html

Somehow I doubt KSA has such a national capability, given its track record in importing talent in the securitys ector and elsewhere. More likely the talent will be imported, from Pakistan in particular.
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Old 07-20-2015   #58
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Default Saudi Arabia Fights the Islamic State at Home

A succint briefing from The Soufan Group and BLUF:
Quote:
The Saudi Arabian government announced that it has arrested 431 individuals, most over the last month, on charges associated with the Islamic State • Few countries are as sensitive to instability concerns as Saudi Arabia, and the country faces a serious domestic threat of Islamic State cells
• Following a steady procession of suicide bombings and shootings, Saudi Arabia is trying to disrupt the Islamic State’s momentum inside the country
• The number of Saudi nationals who have traveled to join the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq pales in relation to the potential recruiting pool of radicalized young Saudis who might prefer to fight at home.
Link:http://soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrie...state-at-home/


I wonder if anyone in KSA has pointed out that in the Yemen the KSA is acting in apparent concert with AQAP?
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Old 08-05-2015   #59
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Default Saudi Arabia’s “Terrorist” Allies in Yemen

From a short paper by the Washington DC based Wilson Center:
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The Yemeni civil war is making for strange bedfellows. Who would have predicted that Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda might become allies despite the terrorist group’s near success in assassinating the current Saudi crown prince six years ago? Who would have thought the Kingdom would turn to the Muslim Brotherhood for help even though the Saudis have condemned it as a terrorist group at home? But this is what is happening in Yemen as the struggle between factions, seen by rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran as proxies of each other, relentlessly grinds on with no end in sight. These Saudi alliances may be mainly tactical and of short duration, but they are straining Saudi relations with the United States, which regards al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as the most dangerous terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland. They are also angering Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who looks upon the Brotherhood as an existential threat and the main source of the escalating terrorist insurgency he faces.
Link:http://www.wilsoncenter.org/publicat...-allies-yemen?
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Old 08-06-2015   #60
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...just because Oblabla is holding half the report on 9/11 locked due to Saudi involvement, means not it's really 'surprising' the Saudis are cooperating with al-Qaida, Moslem Brotherhood etc., especially so in Yemen.

If anybody 'imported' Wahhabism into that country, then it was the Saudis, and that with all force, and every Dollar they could spend for that purpose, already since early 1990s.

Much more worrying is the fact that the Saudis are dumb enough to believe they could hold the powers they have unleashed there 'under control'.

...and that nobody in the West cares about this.

Greetings from 'new' Saudi allies in Yemen:
Quote:
Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen, which officials have called the terror group's most dangerous affiliate, has issued two threatening new communiques praising recent lone-wolf style attacks against the West and calling for more of them.

"We urge you to strike America in its own home and beyond," says a letter attributed to Ibrahim al-Asiri, the master bomb-maker with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
...
Hey... when one thinks of it... since Saudi Arabia is a US ally, the AQAP is now de-facto US ally too, or isn't it...?!?
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