Prince Mohmmed bin Nayef

Last week, the Saudi Interior Ministry issued a statement designating a number of groups as terrorist organizations among other things, in accordance with the royal order issued by King Abdullah last month that led to the formation of a joint committee to officially designate terrorist groups. The royal decree was part of a broad effort to confront any and all parties that might pose a threat to Saudi Arabia or its people, and the Interior Ministry’s statement was an effective means of implementing that decree.

The committee’s statement is not the result of internal investigations within the Interior Ministry alone, as some have suggested. This is much broader than just the Interior Ministry  the committee includes representatives of the ministries of the interior, foreign affairs, Islamic affairs and justice, as well as the Court of Grievances and the Bureau of Investigations and Public Prosecution.

The committee’s decision is a massive change akin to the ones introduced by Saudi Arabia’s Founder, King Abdulaziz, when he dealt with the hardliner separatists and “armed” Muslim Brotherhood of his time. After he exhausted all possibility of peaceful dialogue with these groups, King Abdulaziz held a large assembly in the capital, Riyadh, in 1928 to alert his subjects to the danger in their midst. Then, when such talk was no longer useful, King Abdulaziz delivered a fatal blow to the Ikhwan [Brotherhood] Revolt and the Battle of Sabilla in 1929, thereby safeguarding the future of the state. His son, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, is now protecting the Saudi state and its people just as his father did before him.

Islamic nations are again learning that jihad is a volatile instrument of war that can easily backfire on those who preach it; that “holy war” is hardly limited to fighting and subjugating “infidels”  but can also be used to fight “apostates,” within the Muslim world accused of not being Islamic enough.

After 9-11 the Saudis took actions against the terrorist operating out of Saudi  international but still tolerated them at home until they learned after some major attacks,. the one in Khobar, the Interior Ministry in Riyadh and many others that they in their homeland were targets. They reacted quickly and not only went after the terrorist but fortified government buildings and Western targets such as hotels.

At this time they still ignored the financial support for terrorist groups much from Royal Family members but over time realized that had to stop. That was when King Abdullah gave the green light to Prince bin Nayef to go after the terrorist funding no matter where it came from. Some of the recent efforts have increased that action.

bin Nayef’s ordering home all Saudi fighters in the next few weeks, if they don’t they face up to 20 years in prison, is the reality that they could face these hardened fighters coming home in the future and taking on the government in Saudi.  

I see these recent moves by Saudi as being real and deep and not window dressings they are serious for they are looking to the future through the lens of the last two years of the Arab spring and realize if they don’t do something it will come to Saudi sooner then later.

More to come,

Until next time be Safe: