Potential Hot Spots: October 7, 2001


A bomb went off in the Saudi Arabian city of Khobar. Two were killed; one American and what appeared to be a Pakistani suicide bomber. The bomb went off during a period of prayer, when most devout Moslems were in a mosque. This indicates that the bomb was directed at non-Moslems. The shop the bomb went off near is frequented by non-Saudis. Saudi Arabia has  been faced with Islamic fundamentalism for decades. But the Saud family created their desert kingdom in the 1930s by declaring themselves the defenders of the Islamic Holy Places of Mecca and Medina. The oil came later, and caused problems with the large royal family enjoying their wealth a little too much for devout Islamic tastes. But the leaders of the royal family have cracked down on such misbehavior and spread the wealth around. The royals have also engaged in a tricky balancing act between modernizing the country and still embracing strict Islamic orthodoxy. The government has also cracked down an any anti-government terrorism, which is one reason Osama bin Laden fled the country in the early 1990s. But there is a large number of Saudis that support radical Islamic ideas and are anti-American. There are also a lot of non-Saudi Moslems in the country. Finally, Osama bin Laden's primary goal is to topple the House of Saud and replace it with a religious government.


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