Saudi Arabia's Position: Which News Story is Correct? : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Saudi Arabia's Position: Which News Story is Correct?

Yahoo! mainstream news coverage, hyperlink:

Saturday September 22 1:28 PM ET

S. Arabia, Turkey Cooperate With US

By BARRY SCHWEID, AP Diplomatic Writer

Copyright, Associated Press, Fair Use for Education and Research Purposes Only

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. officials said Saturday they were pleased with cooperation from Saudi Arabia and Turkey as American military forces moved to position themselves for a military strike against Afghanistan. The oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia is of enormous strategic and diplomatic importance to the United States.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Wald, commander of U.S. Central Command's air component,has shifted operations to Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, where he could plan and direct air attacks against Afghanistan and other possible targets in the region. The United States has ``a command and control center with Saudi Arabia. It's up and running and it's operational,'' a senior U.S. official said Saturday. Having Saudi Arabia in the U.S. camp is useful also in countering sentiment in the Arab world against President Bush's campaign to uproot the terrorism network of Osama bin Laden and oppose the Saudi exile's supporters. Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal, consulted with Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell last week, and U.S. officials said the kingdom was cooperating with U.S. requests. The administration is ``pleased with the level of their support,'' one official said Saturday. The minister registered his country's condemnation of the attacks and pledged Saudi backing in the campaign against terrorism.

While al-Faisal was in Washington, however, a senior Saudi official cautioned in Riyadh that the kingdom and other Arab countries did not want to be thrust into a conflict. Any aid provided by Arab and smaller Persian Gulf states must be preceded by a clear and specific declaration of which countries and groups will be targeted, the foreign ministry official said.

Turkey, meanwhile, has agreed to allow Air Force transport aircraft to use its airspace and airports for a possible retaliation to the Sept. 11 attacks, Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said in a letter to Bush. Turkey is also willing to share intelligence on Afghanistan with the United States. The Taliban rulers are thought to be harboring bin Laden. ``We appreciate all the support we are enjoying in the region and around the world,'' Pentagon spokesman Bryan G. Whitman said Saturday. More than 50 U.S. and British jets are based at Incirlik air base in southern Turkey.

On another important front, Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Moscow with his top advisers and talked to Bush on the telephone amid the deliberations. ``We have always been initiators of the effort to unite the forces of the international community in the battle with terror. If we want to win there is no other way,'' Putin said in comments shown on television. ``We must unite forces of all civilized society.''

Also Saturday, the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic relations with the Taliban for the leaders' refusals to surrender bin Laden. The move leaves only two countries that recognize the Taliban as Afghanistan's government - Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia also was said to be discussing whether to sever ties with the Taliban.


Debka File "We Start Where the Media Stop", hyperlink:

DEBKAfile HEADLINES Saturday, September 22, 2001

DEBKAfile World Exclusive

Saudi Royal Family Secretly Sends Ailing King Fahd and Other Members of Royal House Out of Country in Anticipation of US Offensive in Region Leading to Military Crisis

In Last 72 Hours, a Saudi Royal Airlift of 12 Flights Carried King and Royal Party to Palace in Geneva

Two More Royal Flights Due in Geneva Saturday, Fahd Flew Aboard His Private Mobile Hospital Boeing 757 HZ-HMED

DEBKAfile Follows up World Exclusive on Royal Saudi Evacuation: Saudi Arabia Backs out of Support for US Anti-Terror Offensive – After Possible Palace Revolution

US War Offensive Delayed by Loss of Saudi Base - and Fading Away of Arab Coalition Washington Hurriedly Hunts Bases of Operation for Lost Saudi Facilities in Turkey, Uzbekistan and Tadjikistan

Read More on this DEBKAfile Exclusive: US Bereft of Arab Coalition After Saudi Arabia Backs out

22 September: The United States has delayed the start of its offensive against Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden, in retaliation for the terrorist strikes in New York and Washington, because of a dramatic turnaround of Arab support in the Middle East, DEBKAfile ’s Gulf and Washington sources report. Saturday afternoon, it became clear that events in Riyadh had dealt the final deathblow to the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell’s failed efforts to create an Arab front to bolster the Bush administration’s world war on terror. The reason for King Fahd secret exit from Saudi Arabia, followed by a large royal party (see earlier DEBKAfile World Exclusive on this page), is believed by our most reliable sources to be a palace revolution sparked by differences in the royal family over support for the US offensive against Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden’s terror network and other rogue targets. King Fahd and his Sudeiri faction, including defense minister Sultan, were in favor of letting the US place assault forces in forward bases on Saudi soil; the conservative, religious Crown Prince Abdullah, who runs the kingdom since King Fahd became ill, overruled him, backed by the religious establishment. As a result, Saudi Arabia refused to let the US use the kingdom’s new combined air operations command center at Prince Sultan Air Base near Riyadh, after Air Force Lt. Gen Charles Wald had been dispatched to the base earlier this week, to take command of US air forces assigned to the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

His mission was to run the air war from the new, sophisticated air base opened this summer, a base linked to Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates and Seeb in the Sultanate of Oman. The Saudi base was also to have been the central command post not only for the 175 aircraft already based in the region for patrolling south Iraq’s no-flight zone, but also for directing attacks from other bases in the region in the new war offensive. When General Wald landed in Saudi Arabia with his top aides on Tuesday, September 18, he was told he had no command base. That was when the feuding inside the royal house over its role in the American war against terrorism reached its climax. The monarch’s defeat in the argument inside the palace was apparently the main reason for his abrupt departure the next day, Wednesday, September 19. The Pentagon has since then been casting about for replacement bases of operation and holding up the onset of the scheduled US campaign.

DEBKAfile ’s military sources believe that one of General Wald’s options for his command post is the Bahrain. Some of the fighter craft due to have been based in Saudi Arabia have been moved to Incerlik, the big air base in South Turkey, after Anakara made all its bases available for the American war effort, and the Uzbek military airport of Tuzel, 15 km. from Tashkent. Large-scale air and commando forces also landed Saturday in Tadjikistan, on the border of Afghanistan. The American forces are now laboring to catch up with their schedule for the operation.

The upset in Riydah also sent the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat racing to Riydah to meet Crown Prince Abdullah and update his own strategy with the turn of events in the royal house. DEBKAfile ’s Palestinian experts expect Arafat to turn tail and back out of the accommodations he broached under US and European pressure – including his commitment to a ceasefire.

According to DEBKAfile ’s Washington sources, the Bush administration realizes it has been let down by the Arab world, chiefly the Saudis and President Mubarak of Egypt, in its first steps to launch an international campaign to defeat world terrorism. It will go ahead, but not forget in a hurry.

Copyright © 2001 Debkafile. All Rights Reserved, Fair Use for Educational and Research Purposes Only

-- Robert Riggs (, September 22, 2001


Saudi Arabia is bin Laden's declared enemy, according to DebkaFile news. Since this fact statement is from the same source, the question is answered: It lies "in between." Both stories contain elements of truth. While Saudi Arabia has refused open military cooperation; as bin Laden's declared enemy, Saudi Arabia will cooperate, but only discreetly and quietly.


Knowing the Enemy, 23 September:

As US sea-air armadas, destroyers, air fleets and Special Service units speed east to make war on terrorism, the opposition makes its own preparations quietly and in the dark. The ex-Saudi terror master Osama Bin Laden is generally presented as being on the run, dodging with a small band from one hideout to another in the UruzgaMountains north of Kahandar and south of Hindu Kush, to escape the mighty force out to get him. Some reports place him in hiding in Somalia. The truth is that no one – including western intelligence agencies – knows where he is.

What DEBKAfile ’s intelligence and military sources can say is that Bin Laden and his senior commanders, far from giving up the flight, are in fact busy preparing their next offensive against the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates, Egypt and Israel – all affirmed targets of the jihad he has declared against America and everything its stands for.

Bin Laden and his ilk do not practice Western military doctrines. The concepts of military hierarchy, with its generals and colonels, general staffs and operational, air intelligence and naval intelligence branches, are all alien to Bin Laden and his band. This is quite deliberate. Bin Laden keeps his men untouched by Western military thinking and formats for two reasons: 1. To prevent his men’s exposure to Western culture, while creating a milieu in which any Western penetration agent will soon be spotted. 2. A preference for traditional Islamic fighting methods, mostly taken from the early days of conquering Islam - the 7th century, when the Caliph Omar prevailed over the Byzantine Empire, and the 11th century, when Saladin defeated the European Crusaders. Saladin, who was not an Arab but a Seljuk from Asia Minor, built his army around a very small command of adherents and a large international pool of reservists, who were called up for major battles by a dozen or so runners, who traveled to the different countries and activated local couriers in relays for posting call-up summons in the towns and villages.

DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that Bin Laden’s courier squad of half a dozen runners went into action on September 9, two days before the four hijacked airliners rammed the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. They spread out in two destinations. One group headed for the Islamic madrassas, Islamic schools and colleges of Afghanistan, where 40,000 of the more than one million students, Afghans and foreigners, have embraced the jihad mission under Bin Laden’s leadership. A second group went round the 10,000 madrassas of Pakistan, where Bin Laden can count on a further 70,000 jihad devotees. The conscripts were issued with their personal weapons early last week from central armories serving each cluster of madrassas. These schools are not colleges in the Western sense, but training and indoctrination academies breeding militant zealots for battle and self-sacrifice. These future recruits to Bin Laden’s Moslem internationale are subjected to rigorous training disciplines in guerrilla and urban combat, sabotage, the making and use of bombs, simple weaponry for use against planes, helicopters and tanks and endurance in harsh conditions deprived of water and food for long periods.

This is not a ragged rabble, but a well-drilled, dedicated Islamic legion of at least 110,000 zealots, raring to take on Western armies and unafraid of elite US Delta, Rangers and Seals or British S.A.S. commandos descending on their strongholds. Indeed some of the instructors teaching the students the arts of war may have received their own training at the hands of American Moslem commando instructors, attached at different periods to US 101st or 82nd Airborne Divisions. How these Moslem Americans reached the most violent Islamic training grounds in the world will be described elsewhere. Suffice it to say that the Islamic army congregating in Afghanistan under the Bin Laden banner is a fighting force as formidable in its own way as the military might the United States and the British are assembling to eradicate it. Some 3,500 hard core senior officers serving in Bin Laden’s training bases in Afghanistan have taken command of the gathering army.

DEBKAfile’s military sources confirm at least one initial engagement between US elite forces who have crossed from neighboring Tadjikistan, a former Soviet republic, into southeast Afghanistan since Saturday, September 22. They were Led through the mountains by Russian intelligence officers familiar with Afghan frontier terrain and Tadjik and Pushtun smugglers associated with Russian intelligence. There was another brush Saturday, between British SAS units who entered Afghanistan from the north and linked up with the Afghan general Rashid Dustum, an Uzbek, and a Bin Laden band. Members of the British force penetrated Afghan military lines and reached the outskirts of Kabul.

DEBKAfile’s military sources are quite clear that the coming war will be fought both inside and outside Afghanistan, and that its tempo, scale, arena and intensity will not be dictated by the Americans alone. Al Qaeda is an international association of allied groups operating in many parts of the world. Its top commanders are: YAMAN AL ZAWAHAR, head of the Egyptian Jihad Islami, who is Bin Laden’s senior deputy and heir apparent. JUMMA MAMANGANI, an Uzbek, who was recently appointed Al Qaeda chief of operations. He is former commander of the Moslem Army for the Liberation of Kyrgistan. Three key Afghan training camps, at Jalalabad, Farmada and Daronta, are under his command. FATEH KAMEL, who leads the most militant cells of the extremist Algerian GIA. In the name of Al Qaida, he controls terrorist cells in the United States, Canada and Algeria. MUHAMMED ATIF aka SUBHI ABU-SITTAH, who is nominal chief of staff of the network and its brightest military brain. He comes from the Egyptian Jihad Islami. IMAD MUGHNIYEH, the former Lebanese Hizballah hostage- taker and bomber, who is in charge of the combined terrorist campaign around the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, Europe and Israel. On top of the 3,500 hard core commanders and 110,000 Afghan and Pakistani troops, Al Qaeda retains another 6400 commanders in 12 centers: North America, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Albania, Kosovo, Algeria, Chechenya, Tadjikistan and all the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, the Philippines, Egypt, Ethiopia and Somalia. The numbers of Bin Laden can muster differs from place to place. In North America, together with his closest ally, the Egyptian Jihad Islami, some 2,500 hard core fighting men; in Yemen, where his family originated before migrating to Saudi Arabia – 2000 directly. But Bin Laden has a special relationship with the commanders of the 20,000-man strong irregular “Moslem Liberation Army, which hold a monopoly of the arms trade of the Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa, the Red Sea and East Africa. Its reach sometimes goes as far as Iran. Bin Laden often serves as the MLA’s clearing bank and ready bankroll for arms deal.

In Saudi Arabia, where the privileged and affluent Bin Laden clan lives, Osama commands some 200-250 hard-core commanders, but many more potential partisans among the disaffected tribes in the central and eastern provinces, especially the Nejd, as well as in the Saudi armed forces and national guard. An intensive Al Qaeda recruitment effort in those two Saudi forces could cause their collapse and drop in Bin Laden’s lap their arsenals, with some of the most sophisticated hardware in use today. According to conservative estimates, the millionaire-terrorist could most probably rally around the world roughly the same number of fighting men as those flocking to his flag in Afghanistan and Pakistan, namely an army of over 200,000 men. Many members of his overseas legions are available for both sustained and for one-time operations. In between, they simply go back to their normal pursuits and their homes in host countries. They are also available for terrorist operations on their home ground.

Copyright © 2001 Debkafile. All Rights Reserved. Fair Use for Educational and Research Purposes Only

-- Robert Riggs (, September 23, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ