Terrorism: May 4, 2005


Syria's efforts to improve ties with the US seem to include providing information on possible Islamic terrorist attacks against American and other Western targets in the Middle East. Several recent busts of terrorist operatives in Saudi Arabia and adjacent areas seem to have been at least partially based on tips from Syrian sources.

Several European Union (EU) countries have been investigating corruption among Moroccan consular officials. In Italy and several other countries, evidence has surfaced indicating that officials in several Moroccan consulates have been accepting bribes to provide false documents to Moroccans trying to secure legal resident status in the EU, which brings with it the right to hold a job, access to medical and educational benefits, and so forth. While there is no evidence that these transactions are anything more than the efforts of some Moroccans to seek a better life in Europe, albeit illegally, the danger that terrorists are using Moroccan consular corruption for their own purposes is very great.

Apparently they Saudis have been using their new anti-terrorism laws against converts to Christianity. Several Saudi Christians have been detained on suspicion of aiding Al-Qaeda. The conditions under which the Christians are being held are harsh, with beatings and torture routine. This is still better than the official penalty for leaving the Moslem faith, death. Those converts who agree to return to Islam are usually freed. The entire drill is apparently an attempt to appease Islamic conservatives unhappy with the government crack down on pro-al Qaeda Islamic radicals. President Bush is said to have brought this up at his recent meeting the Saudi Crown Prince.


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