< < <
Date Index
> > >
For your attention
by threehegemons
28 July 2002 01:01 UTC
< < <
Thread Index
> > >
Steven Sherman spotted this on the Guardian Unlimited Observer site and thought 
you should see it.

Note from Steven Sherman:

When the US began bombing Afghanistan, Wallerstein predicted that the 'twin 
towers' of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan might be endangered.

To see this story with its related links on the Guardian Unlimited Observer 
site, go to http://www.observer.co.uk

Britons left in jail amid fears that Saudi Arabia could fall to al-Qaeda
Martin Bright, Nick Pelham and Paul Harris
Saturday July 27 2002
The Guardian

Saudi Arabia is teetering on the brink of collapse, fuelling Foreign Office 
fears of an extremist takeover of one of the West's key allies in the war on 

Anti-government demonstrations have swept the desert kingdom in the past months 
in protest at the pro-American stance of the de facto ruler, Prince Abdullah.  

At the same time, Whitehall officials are concerned that Abdullah could face a 
palace coup from elements within the royal family sympathetic to al-Qaeda.  

Saudi sources said the Pentagon had recently sponsored a secret conference to 
look at options if the royal family fell.  

Demonstrations across the kingdom broke out in March, triggered by a fire in a 
girls' school in which 14 pupils died after the religious police stopped them 

Unrest in the east of the country rapidly escalated into nationwide protests 
against the royal family that were brutally suppressed by the police. The 
Observer has obtained secret video footage of the protests smuggled out of the 
country last week that shows hundreds of Saudis, including women, demonstrating 
in support of the Palestinians and opposition to the regime.  

The Foreign Office believes that the failure of Abdullah's recent Middle East 
peace plan could have terminally undermined his position.  

The Crown Prince's main rival, Prince Sultan, the Defence Minister, has been 
vocal in his opposition to Abdullah's pro-Western policy. His brother Prince 
Naif, head of the Interior Ministry, has led a crackdown on the Saudi media in 
the wake of the demonstrations to stop any word of them leaking out.  

Abdullah has even sent his own representative to Washington to counter the 
influence of the ambassador, Prince Bandar, a son of Prince Sultan.  

Anti-Abdullah elements within the Saudi government are also thought to have 
colluded in a wave of bomb attacks on Western targets by Islamic terrorists.  

The authorities have blamed the attacks on an alleged 'turf war' between 
Westerners involved in the bootleg alcohol trade and have jailed five Britons, 
a Canadian and a Belgian for the bombings. But British intelligence sources 
have confirmed that the attacks were carried out by Islamists linked to 

Earlier this year, the accused men were handed sentences ranging from execution 
to long prison terms. But lawyers acting for the Britons have told The Observer 
that they could soon be free.  

The tensions between the royal factions will intensify with the death of King 
Fahd. The condition of the king, in hospital in Switzerland, is 'unstable', 
doctors said.  

British-based Saudi dissident Dr Saad al-Fagih said: 'There is now an 
undeclared war between the factions in the Saudi royal family.'  

Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited

< < <
Date Index
> > >
World Systems Network List Archives
at CSF
Subscribe to World Systems Network < < <
Thread Index
> > >