Sunday, January 25, 2004

In some ways the heart of the war on terror is in Saudi Arabia. From there comes the funding. From there came fifteen out of nineteen of the infamous hijackers. There is the heart of Wahhibism, the ideology of Al Qaeda.

Many have pointed out that the Saudi's have been at best indifferent allies, and perhaps worse. Yet the house of Saud has kept the oil flowing, if only to pay for their own luxuries as well as the welfare state that has so far bought off the rest of the population. Nobody knows for certain what a popular uprising would mean, but it could not be good for us.

Rebellion brewing in Saudi city
Assassinations in Sakaka, power base of a branch of the royal family, reflect nationwide anger against the monarchy


SAKAKA (Saudi Arabia) - The tiny city of Sakaka in the remote al-Jouf province that borders Iraq may seem an unlikely setting for the beginning of a revolution against the ruling al-Saud family.

But one does not have to spend too long here to realise that this is what is happening.

Al-Jouf has witnessed an extraordinary level of political violence in recent months.

The deputy governor, say local residents, was assassinated.

Also shot down was the police chief, executed by a group of men who forced their way into his home.


But other merchant families and tribes which were prominent before al-Jouf was incorporated into the Saudi kingdom and al-Sudairy took over are rebelling.

The five streets of Sakaka are now deserted after dusk.

Since the series of killings, members of the al-Sudairy clan have not been able to venture out of their walled villas without an armed guard.

Special security police in bullet-proof jackets and wielding machine guns man permanent roadblocks on the approach roads into the city.


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