Terrorism: February 27, 2003


In Saudi Arabia, a man has been arrested for the February 20 murder of a British citizen. The suspect is a Yemeni with Saudi citizenship. This in itself is unusual, for it is very difficult for a foreigner to obtain Saudi citizenship. Each such act must be personally approved by the king. The murder suspect (Ali ibn Saud ibn Nasser) is also known to be associated with Islamic radical groups and the murder was a deliberate act of terror against foreigners in Saudi Arabia. The murder victim was picked at random. The Saudi government has slowly changed it's attitude towards terrorism in the past year. After the 911 attacks, Saudis downplayed terrorism among it's citizens. But as Saudi terrorist groups have become more active, and visible, the Saudi government has cracked down harder. Although most Saudis oppose an invasion of Iraq, the majority are not supporters of terrorism either. It's also important to note that most of the terrorist activity takes place in central and western Saudi Arabia. The Eastern Province, where most of the oil is, has a large Shia minority that favors an invasion of Iraq and opposes terrorism against foreigners.

The U.S. State Department has warned American citizens in Saudi Arabia to take precautions. More attacks are expected and a senior Saudi government official was also murdered on February 17th by an Islamic radical. At the same time, several employees of Aramco (the Saudi oil company) were plotting with Saudi Islamic radicals to sabotage oil production. As a result, Americans have been warned to stay in their compounds for at least a week (just leaving to go to work) if there is an invasion of Iraq. 


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