Saudi Arabia and the continuing war against terror
Interior Ministry believes that ISIS activities across Saudi Arabia in the past three years have been connected
Just as they usually do, Saudi security authorities revealed on Tuesday the horrid details related to ISIS cells busted in the kingdom recently. Saudi people witnessed a part of these cells’ activities in the battle of al-Yasmeen neighborhood in Riyadh and during the operations in Al-Harazat and al-Naseem neighborhoods in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s gate to the Red Sea.
During these operations, Saudi security forces have arrested 16 extremists. Three of them are Saudis and the rest are Pakistanis. The two suicide bombers who blew themselves up in a rest house in the crowded neighborhood of al-Harazat were identified and it turned out they were potentially dangerous terrorists.
They lived in a rest house which they used as a factory to make bombs and suicide belts. Their names are Ghazi Hussein al-Sarwani and Nadi Marzooq al-Medhiani and they are both Saudis. According to the details provided by the Interior Ministry, Sarwani is “one of the most-wanted men because of his various roles and connections to terrorist elements and incidents during the past three years”.
They have been involved in blowing up the Special Forces mosque in Abha, south of Saudi Arabia, attack on al-Mashhad mosque in Najran, and cooperating with Oqab al-Otaibi, the mastermind behind assassination of Colonel Kitab Majed al-Hammadi, and other crimes.
Targeting Saudi Arabia at this increased rate during the past three years is certainly related to global mobilization of ISISMshari al-Thaydi
Connecting the dots
While explaining the details of the cells to journalists, Saudi Arabia Interior Ministry General Bassam Attiyah said all ISIS activities across Saudi Arabia in the past three years have been connected and at some point we could connect the dots. He said that ISIS member Oqab al-Otaibi, who is under arrest, is an example of the connection that exists between several cells.
What’s noteworthy in Attiyah’s statements is that Saudi security authorities has noticed and battled against increasing ISIS activities in the country during the past 28 months. This could be the same in all countries that have a stake in Syria.
I am not suggesting this as the only reason as there are other reasons related to educational problems and cultural issues. However, targeting Saudi Arabia at this increased rate during the past three years is certainly related to global mobilization of ISIS.
The battle continues and the threat continues to persist, as Attiyah puts it. Eliminating Islamist terrorism is not an easy task and the Saudi Interior Ministry is doing what must really be done i.e. remaining vigilant and cracking down on terror cells. Eradicating the roots of terrorism can only be achieved through other means of which security is the last.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.