' Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
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Jewish World Review May 20, 2003 / 18 Iyar, 5763

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.

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Saudi terror watch

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | With the grace and speed of a child's toy top, Saudi Arabia's top public relations "spinner," Adel al-Jubeir, has been whirling across the airwaves and newsprint of the American media ever since the Kingdom experienced last week's wave of murderous, terrorist bombings. Mr. al-Jubeir's ubiquitousness (notably, in place of Prince Bandar, the equally charming, but less-Western and more controversial Saudi Ambassador) is evidence of how much trouble the Saudis now know they are in. His mission: to ensure that American audiences see Saudi Arabia as a fellow-victim of radical Islamic (or Islamist) terrorism -- not as its most important source.

Toward this end, the man whose day-job makes him the foreign policy advisor to Crown Prince Abdullah, employed his many impressive linguistic and other skills (in particular, an unaccented and idiomatic command of the English language, a magician's gift for dissimulation and verbal prestidigitation, even choking-up theatrically at one point). And he largely got away with it. Until, that is, he made the mistake of appearing Sunday with Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Mr. Russert has earned a reputation for thorough and tough, but fair, cross-examinations of his guests. In al-Jubeir's case, he used lengthy questions to put before the public hard facts about such conduct as: Saudi calls for holy war (jihad) from state-sponsored Wahhabi clerics; virulently anti-Western incitement widely disseminated via such means as Saudi government-controlled media and 8th grade textbooks; comments by the Saudi Interior Minister that suggest sympathy for Islamist terrorists and hostility to U.S. efforts to bring them to justice; and funding by Saudi-based and -controlled "charities" that supports suicide bombers and their families.

Before it was over, even as accomplished an artful-dodger as Mr. al-Jubeir was reduced to declaring that reports of such activities in Saudi Arabia were "overblown," characterizing this sort of behavior as "wrong" and promising that it would be stopped in the future.

Let us earnestly hope so. But since Mr. al-Jubeir (and, to an even greater degree, other less-skilled Saudi spokesmen) seem unable fully to acknowledge the extent of Saudi complicity in terror at home, and since in any event it is difficult for Americans to monitor exactly what is happening in the closed and secretive Kingdom, there are several other things the Saudi royals, their clerics, companies and other agents could do in this country that would be both helpful -- and relatively transparent:

1) Stop their organized efforts to recruit convicted felons in the U.S. prison system as cannon-fodder for the Wahhabist jihad.

2) Stop certifying and placing Wahhabi chaplains in the U.S. military -- enabling them to convert service personnel (perhaps including Sergeant Asan Akbar, who allegedly "fragged" his commanding officers just before the 101st Airborne's "jump-off" into Iraq) to a murderously hostile view of this country and its foreign policy purposes.

3) Stop trying -- through, for example, the underwriting of by some estimates 80% of the mortgages of American mosques -- to dominate the Muslim community in this country and to make it an instrument for transforming this nation into an intolerantly Islamist one.

4) Stop Wahhabi-funded and -orchestrated indoctrination and recruitment efforts on more than 500 college campuses around the United States.

5) Stop funding organizations in this country that purport to be "mainstream" Muslim- and Arab-American groups but that, in fact, express sympathy for Wahhabist and other terrorist groups and work to advance their agenda in this country and around the world. Their political- influence operations -- aimed at the White House, the Congress, the media and law enforcement -- arguably pose an even greater long-term danger than the homicidal attacks they excuse and otherwise enable.

Of course, when challenged, such organizations usually seek to justify their activities with the contention that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." For years, the Saudis have made a similar excuse for the foregoing activities -- claiming that they did not amount to support for terror, just legitimate efforts to proselytize on behalf of their state religion, the Wahhabi sect of Islam.

This, then, will fulfill the many, sweeping promises Mr. al-Jubeir is making. Will they truly renounce terror and end official and officially-sanctioned support or it -- even if that means abandoning the central organizing principle and justification for Wahhabism: the subordination to its discipline, by force if necessary, of all other Muslims and non-Muslims alike?

Anything less from the Saudis will be tantamount to them remaining, as President Bush has put it, "with the terrorists" and condemn them to being treated accordingly.

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JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. heads the Center for Security Policy. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


05/13/03: 'Transformation, part deux'
04/29/03: Shooting the messenger
04/15/03: Who's next?
04/08/03: Winning the peace
03/05/03: A friend in need
02/25/03: The plot thickens
02/18/03: Who's 'with' President Bush?
02/11/03: Islamists' White House gatekeeper
02/04/03: The Powell report
01/28/03: Bush's finest hour
01/14/03: North Korean scorecard
01/07/03: Nuclear meltdown
12/17/02: Serious about defending America
12/03/02: Defining 'regime change'
11/26/02: With friends like the Saudis...
11/19/02: The Jayna Davis files
11/12/02: Could Israel die of thirst?
11/04/02: Against us
10/22/02: Too clever by half?
10/17/02: 'Drain the swamps'
10/08/02: The temptations of George Bush
10/01/02: Return of the San Francisco Dems
09/24/02: The next crusader?
09/17/02: It is no accident that advocates of coercive inspections have opposed prez's goal of regime change
09/10/02: A model for Iraq
08/27/02: Beware 'consensus leadership'
08/20/02: To Iraq or not to Iraq?
08/13/02: Trading with the 'enemy'
07/30/02: Who's trashing Ashcroft?
07/23/02: Wall Street's 'poisoned apples'
07/16/02: Back on the China front
07/09/02: See no evil?
07/02/02: Rethinking peacekeeping
06/25/02: Political moment of truth on defense
06/19/02: Inviting losses on two fronts
06/12/02: Make missile defense happen
06/04/02: The next 'Day of Infamy'?
05/29/02: Bush's Russian gamble
05/21/02: The 'next war'
05/15/02: Ex-presidential misconduct
05/07/02: When 'what if' is no game
05/02/02: Careful what we wish for
04/24/02: The real 'root cause' of terror
04/02/02: First principles in the Mideast
03/26/02: 'Renounce this map'
03/20/02: The inconvenient ally
03/12/02: Adults address the 'unthinkable'
03/05/02: The Saudi scam
02/26/02: Rumsfeld's 'now hear this'
02/19/02: Where's the outrage?
02/12/02: Post-mortem on 'Pearl Harbor II'
02/05/02: Spinning on the 'Evil Axis'
01/29/02: A challenge for the history books
01/22/02: Who pulled the plug on the Chinese 'bugs'?
01/15/02: No 'need to know'
01/08/02: Sentenced to de-nuclearize?
12/18/01: Missile defense mismanagement?
12/11/01: Is the Cold War 'over'?
12/04/01: A moment for truth
11/29/01: Send in the marines -- with the planes they need
11/27/01: 'Now Hear This': Does the President Mean What He Says?
11/20/01: Mideast 'vision thing'
11/13/01: The leitmotif of the next three days
11/06/01: Bush's Reykjavik Moment
10/30/01: Say it ain't true, 'W.
10/23/01: Getting history, and the future, right
10/16/01: Farewell to arms control
10/05/01: A time to choose
09/25/01: Don't drink the 'lemonade'
09/11/01: Sudan envoy an exercise in futility?
09/05/01: Strategy of a thousand cuts
08/28/01: Rummy's back
08/21/01: Prepare for 'two wars'
08/14/01: Why does the Bush Administration make a moral equivalence between terrorist attacks and Israel's restrained defensive responses?
08/07/01: A New bipartisanship in security policy?
07/31/01: Don't go there
07/17/01: The 'end of the beginning'
07/10/01: Testing President Bush
07/03/01: Market transparency works
06/27/01: Which Bush will it be on missile defense?
06/19/01: Don't politicize military matters
06/05/01: It's called leadership
06/05/01: With friends like these ...
05/31/01: Which way on missile defense?
05/23/01: Pearl Harbor, all over again
05/15/01: A tale of two Horatios
05/08/01: The real debate about missile defense
04/24/01: Sell aegis ships to Taiwan
04/17/01: The 'hi-tech for China' bill
04/10/01: Deal on China's hostages -- then what?
04/03/01: Defense fire sale redux
03/28/01: The defense we need
03/21/01: Critical mass
03/13/01: The Bush doctrine
03/08/01: Self-Deterred from Defending America
02/27/01: Truth and consequences for Saddam
02/21/01: Defense fire sale
02/13/01: Dubya's Marshall Plan
02/05/01: Doing the right thing on an 'Arab-Arab dispute'
01/30/01: The missile defense decision
01/23/01: The Osprey as Phoenix
01/17/01: Clinton's Parting Shot at Religious Freedom
01/09/01: Wake-up call on space
01/02/01: Secretary Rumsfeld
12/27/00: Redefining our Ukraine policy
12/19/00: Deploy missile defense now
12/12/00: Sabotaging space power
12/05/00: Preempting Bush
11/28/00: What Clinton hath wrought
11/21/00: HE'S BAAAACK
11/14/00: The world won't wait

© 2001, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.