Terrorism: July 9, 2005


In Arabia, its often difficult to separate terrorism from politics. Because of its enormous wealth, and being the home of the Moslem holy places, Saudi Arabia sees itself as top dog in Arabia. The neighbors do not agree, and in the ensuing confusion, fighting terrorism becomes secondary to settling ancient disputes. For example, Saudi Arabia and Yemen have been at odds for a long time. Their common borders have never been agreed on, and Islamic extremists in both countries support each other, despite whatever the governments do. There are also border disputes with UAE (United Arab Emirates), Qatar, and Kuwait. Saudi Arabia doesnt get along with Oman and Bahrain either, mainly over political and social issues. Until the 1991 Iraq war, Yemen and Saudi Arabia had good relations, or so the Saudis thought. But when Yemen supported Saddam Husseins claim on Kuwait, the Saudis cut relations and expelled a Yemenis working in Saudi Arabia. This put over a million Yemenis out of work, and wrecked the Yemeni economy. The two countries are, 14 years later, still trying to rebuild relations. This hasnt been easy, because there are Shia and Sunni religious radicals in Yemen, who have been supporting religious radicals in Saudi Arabia, despite attempts by both governments to stop it. Supporting subversive groups inside neighbors you are feuding with, is an ancient practice, and it is very popular in Arabia. So Saudi Arabia has been caught financing opposition groups in its smaller neighbors, as a way of pressuring the governments to be nice to Saudi Arabia and settle disputes in favor of Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia remains the largest source of Islamic radicalism, which has now become a major problem with the Islamic terrorists under attack, desperate, and doing their dirty work at home. But all politics is, ultimately, local, and ancient border disputes take precedence over what outsiders think about Islamic terrorism. 


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