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Why Osama bin Laden Hates the Saudi Royal Family

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  • Why Osama bin Laden Hates the Saudi Royal Family

    From StrategyPage.com

    June 2, 2004: There is still no confirmation that three of the four terrorists who were trapped in a housing complex for foreigners over the weekend, negotiated their release with police, who then faked a helicopter raid by commandoes to "rescue" several dozen hostages in the building near Khobar, and the causeway that leads to the island of Bahrain. The terrorists had threatened to blow up the housing complex, and kill more foreigners and Saudis. Such a negotiation situation is considered likely in Saudi Arabia, as it combines Arab, and the Saudi family, customs and habits.

    The Saudi family is, technically, an absolute monarchy. But in practice, it is a "consultative monarchy." That is, the senior male members of the Saud family (a group that contains over 5,000 men and boys) constantly negotiates with various tribal, religious and other groups in the kingdom in order to avoid rebellion. There is much to rebel about. The Saud family skims a third, or more, of the oil revenue (which is nearly all the government's income) for family use. The rest goes to the people of Saudi Arabia. But in the last two decades, the population of Saudi Arabia has doubled from nine to 18 million, and the income per capita has halved. Most Saudis have noticed this, but so far, the anger has not organized a major resistance. Except for Osama bin Laden, who began making "down with the Saud family" noises twelve years ago, and was quickly run out of the kingdom.

    Actually, bin Ladens main beef is the presence of non-Moslems in Saudi Arabia. Thus bin Laden considers the Saudi family unfit to guard the Islamic holy places. As a result, al Qaeda has always had the overthrow of the Saudi aristocracy as one of their primary goals. But using suicide bombs and messy gun battles has cost al Qaeda a lot of public support. The attack over the weekend, which killed a ten year old Egyptian boy, caused near universal condemnation of al Qaeda by the Arab media.

    Meanwhile, the generally crime free kingdom finds that it is ill-equipped to deal with several hundred (the most recent police guesstimate) armed al Qaeda men in the kingdom. Western diplomats have told their citizens that they, and their families, cannot be protected from attacks by al Qaeda gunmen. Given the higher crime rates in their home countries, many of the expatriates are staying put, or moving out of the all-foreigner housing compounds and into apartment houses largely occupied by middle-class Saudis.

    There is also fear that the Saudi al Qaeda will get their act together sufficiently to make an effective attack on the Saudi oil facilities. It is, in theory, possible to set off bombs at a few pumping stations and export terminals, and halt the export of millions of barrels of oil a day. The Saudi security forces guarding the oil facilities have long been regarded as the most effective para-military force in the kingdom. But the oil facilities cover a vast area, and a well trained group of commandos, undertaking a carefully prepared terrorist attack, could get in and do damage. So far, the Saudi al Qaeda gunmen have not demonstrated much skill. But if enough al Qaeda groups make a go at the oil facilities, one could succeed. It's a long shot, but many media outlets are playing it up because it makes a great headline (although a poor use of statistics and probability.)

    Police killed two suspected al Qaeda members in the hills of western Saudi Arabia near Mecca. Someone also fired at a car belonging to Americans in the capital. No one has taken a shot at any of the Saud family members recently.

  • #2
    OBL should love the Saudi Royal Family - he gets a fair amount of money from them, especially Crown Prince Abdullah, the heir to King Fahd. Abdullah is a strong supporter of fundamentalist Islam, and some predict that, when he ascends the throne, the Sharia will become the primary law in Saudi Arabia. Coming from this, it is likely that most or all foreigners will be ordered out of the country. Who will operate the oil industry is unknown, but then, much about the Saudi Arabia of Abdullah is unknown.
    Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
    (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

    Comment


    • #3
      How old is the Crown Prince? As I understand it he is more than merely the power behind the throne. With the LARGE royal family there do you think it would be possible for some of the 'young turks' to actually attempt to supplant the current crown prince?

      I don't think it would be possible for the Saudi's to order out all foreign workers. The Saudis don't have a lower middle class or lower class to perform the menial labor.

      Also some, let us say communications, that I have received from a US expatriate in Saudi indicate some other interesting points. Apparently a good number of the more educated Saudis have been able to acquire dual nationality in Europe and ensure that their children also hold it. Many will also hold a second passport from that nation. Even with currency export restrictions in place, banking in Liechinstein, Switzerland, and other countries know for their... discretion... is quite popular. So if the Saudi ruling parties are... replaced... I think we could look for an exodus not unlike in Iran in the late 70's from Iran. That would just about put Saudi back into the late 60's because they might have all the toys, but no one to fix them.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by hogdriver
        OBL should love the Saudi Royal Family - he gets a fair amount of money from them, especially Crown Prince Abdullah, the heir to King Fahd. Abdullah is a strong supporter of fundamentalist Islam, and some predict that, when he ascends the throne, the Sharia will become the primary law in Saudi Arabia. Coming from this, it is likely that most or all foreigners will be ordered out of the country. Who will operate the oil industry is unknown, but then, much about the Saudi Arabia of Abdullah is unknown.
        Where is this from? I haven't heard that OBL gets money from the Royal Family.

        JS
        Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
        Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


        "Never pet a burning dog."

        RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
        http://www.mormon.org
        http://www.sca.org
        http://www.scv.org/
        http://www.scouting.org/

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by RetPara
          How old is the Crown Prince? As I understand it he is more than merely the power behind the throne. With the LARGE royal family there do you think it would be possible for some of the 'young turks' to actually attempt to supplant the current crown prince?

          I don't think it would be possible for the Saudi's to order out all foreign workers. The Saudis don't have a lower middle class or lower class to perform the menial labor.

          Also some, let us say communications, that I have received from a US expatriate in Saudi indicate some other interesting points. Apparently a good number of the more educated Saudis have been able to acquire dual nationality in Europe and ensure that their children also hold it. Many will also hold a second passport from that nation. Even with currency export restrictions in place, banking in Liechinstein, Switzerland, and other countries know for their... discretion... is quite popular. So if the Saudi ruling parties are... replaced... I think we could look for an exodus not unlike in Iran in the late 70's from Iran. That would just about put Saudi back into the late 60's because they might have all the toys, but no one to fix them.
          Not entirely certain of his age, though with King Fahd in his 70's, I would have to guess somewhere in his early-mid 40's. Abdullah has his position very well established, anybody trying to usurp his power would have to get quite a large following within the family, and I cannot see this happening. Given Abdullah's preference for a much more fundamentalist leanings, and his desire to see most or all foreigners leave the Kingdom, he has broad support both within the family and with the populace. Wide-ranging changes will occur when the King dies - what exactly will come from them is subject to debate. The prospect of a Saudi Kingdom well disposed toward fundamentalism and extremism is an ominous threat.
          Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
          (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

          Comment


          • #6
            The Saudi kingdom isn't already very fundamentalist? It has one of the harshest legal codes in the world, and the number civil liberties come in at about.... oh zero?
            “To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any church, is an outrage against that liberty of conscience which is one of the foundations of American life.”

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            • #7
              They're downright liberal in comparison to what they could be.

              Comment


              • #8
                Well considering they're ranked amongst the ten worst nations in the world for civil rights (only a few steps above North Korea)...
                “To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any church, is an outrage against that liberty of conscience which is one of the foundations of American life.”

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Overseer
                  Well considering they're ranked amongst the ten worst nations in the world for civil rights (only a few steps above North Korea)...
                  But OBL hates them because they are so liberal, not because they are so repressive.

                  The problem is one of perspective. We tend to think of someone as liberal or conservative based on our own views.

                  OBL sees the world in a black and white form, where you either follow the Koran -- and not just the Koran, but his particular understanding of it -- or you're evil and must be eliminated. It galls him especially that

                  (1) The Saudi government allows US bases there,
                  (2) The Israelis are in Jerusalem, and
                  (3) US power in paramount throughout the world.

                  JS
                  Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                  Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                  "Never pet a burning dog."

                  RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
                  http://www.mormon.org
                  http://www.sca.org
                  http://www.scv.org/
                  http://www.scouting.org/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Okay, well I'm not talking about liberal vs. conservatist. I'm talking about level of authoritarianism. Now I know OBL hates them for allowing US bases (I mean, that's about the biggest no-no you can have in his book).

                    My point was simply that they have one of the strictest legal codes in the world and have almost no personal rights. I don't think a change in government will be all that more oppressive. Now I wouldn't be surprised about a change in foreign policy and a change in attitude to the US, but not sure all that much will change domestically for them.
                    “To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any church, is an outrage against that liberty of conscience which is one of the foundations of American life.”

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Overseer
                      My point was simply that they have one of the strictest legal codes in the world and have almost no personal rights. I don't think a change in government will be all that more oppressive. Now I wouldn't be surprised about a change in foreign policy and a change in attitude to the US, but not sure all that much will change domestically for them.
                      As regards a change in government being more or less oppressive, that depends on who takes over (flash of the obvious there, huh?). Most likely the current government will remain in power.

                      Personal rights is a tricky issue. Although you and I feel as you said, there are a lot of devout Muslims who would disagree. Right now, Saudi parents are generally free of apparent bad influences on their kids, for example. They are free of apparent drunkeness, prostitution, and other crimes. They are free of "R" and "X" rated movies and naked people on their TV sets. These things are common in the West, where we go out of our way to ignore the religious beliefs of people and place that responsibility on the family (the attitude of "if you don't like it, turn your TV off").

                      JS
                      Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                      Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                      "Never pet a burning dog."

                      RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
                      http://www.mormon.org
                      http://www.sca.org
                      http://www.scv.org/
                      http://www.scouting.org/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well, we were talking about when the crowned prince takes over, which is all I meant when I said change of government (it's like the same extent when a new party takes power or something like that).

                        Right now, Saudi parents are generally free of apparent bad influences on their kids, for example. They are free of apparent drunkeness, prostitution, and other crimes. They are free of "R" and "X" rated movies and naked people on their TV sets. These things are common in the West, where we go out of our way to ignore the religious beliefs of people and place that responsibility on the family (the attitude of "if you don't like it, turn your TV off").

                        Yeah, that's basically what I was getting at. They are already incredibly strict. They're not going to get a whole lot more strict in most areas.
                        “To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any church, is an outrage against that liberty of conscience which is one of the foundations of American life.”

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Overseer
                          Yeah, that's basically what I was getting at. They are already incredibly strict. They're not going to get a whole lot more strict in most areas.
                          Right, but you're taking it different than I intended it...I feel those restrictions at the government level give more freedom to the to live as they see fit, a right I have to fight for every day in the west where immorality are rudeness are forced on my family and I from all directions 24/7.

                          Remember also that, if Jefferson was right (and I think he was), governments rule at the will of the people -- given that there are no insurrections in Saudi Arabia, or any indication that there would be, apparently the restrictions there bother people outside the country more than they do the citizens.

                          JS
                          Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                          Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                          "Never pet a burning dog."

                          RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
                          http://www.mormon.org
                          http://www.sca.org
                          http://www.scv.org/
                          http://www.scouting.org/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I see your point about how too much is a problem from a family point of view, and that's one of those tough debates that you can never really solve.

                            You don't want to inhibit speech, but unfortunately that means you have to worry about protecting your children from more readily available pornography, for example.

                            I just don't know that I would say it gives the families more freedom to raise how they want. I'd say it forces the families down one narrow set of morals, that they may or may not agree with. Unless I'm getting the point wrong?
                            “To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any church, is an outrage against that liberty of conscience which is one of the foundations of American life.”

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Overseer
                              I see your point about how too much is a problem from a family point of view, and that's one of those tough debates that you can never really solve.

                              You don't want to inhibit speech, but unfortunately that means you have to worry about protecting your children from more readily available pornography, for example.
                              Unfortunately, you are right.
                              I just don't know that I would say it gives the families more freedom to raise how they want. I'd say it forces the families down one narrow set of morals, that they may or may not agree with. Unless I'm getting the point wrong?
                              Roger, but if the family already has those morals, there is no complusion.

                              When I was a boy, we had to give stuff up for Lent. The objective being to recall the Savior's suffering and make sacrifice. Of course, you don't understand that when you're 8, so my buddies and I would give up stuff we had no hope of doing anyway -- like flying an airplane.

                              I can give a more up-to-date example (and perhaps a better one). US soldiers in Iraq are not allowed to drink alcoholic beverages. But that doesn't restrict me at all, since I don't drink anyway. I am under no compulsion at all not to drink.

                              JS
                              Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                              Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                              "Never pet a burning dog."

                              RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
                              http://www.mormon.org
                              http://www.sca.org
                              http://www.scv.org/
                              http://www.scouting.org/

                              Comment

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