There are three Middle Eastern battlegrounds for Islamic terrorists; Iraq, Israel and Saudi Arabia. This last one gets the least amount of attention, despite the fact that Saudi Arabia has been the source of most of the money, preaching and people dedicated to Islamic terrorism. Since the invasion of Iraq, the Islamic radicals in Saudi Arabia have been at war with their own government. A two decade truce is over, and now the battle is to the death. Well, a temporary death. The al Saud family had to go through this in the 1930s, when the more radical Islamic warriors in the kingdom decided to carry their jihad to neighboring countries. Does this sound familiar? The king, and founder, of the recently established Saudi Arabia, realized that this would only mean trouble for his newly minted kingdom. So the king hit back hard, and kept killing the Islamic radicals until the survivors convinced him that there would be no more trouble. It was forty years before Islamic radicals felt strong enough to take on the king once more. They lost again, but instead of stamping out (ie, killing) most of the Islamic radicals, the new king (son of the old king) made a deal with them. The Islamic radicals could freely teach their hatred in the kingdoms schools, and support Islamic radicalism overseas. But they had to keep the peace at home. That truce lasted until 2003. Now its back to the 1930s way of doing things.
The Saudis have killed or captured nearly all the Islamic radical leadership. The most wanted list is now largely composed of second string terrorists. But the Islamic radicals are not destroyed yet. The fighting in Iraq has created some new, and more experienced, Saudi Islamic terrorists. While several thousand Saudis have gone to Iraq, most have either died as suicide bombers, been killed by more experienced American troops, or come home discouraged (at the fact that most of the people killed, by terrorist attacks, in Iraq, have been Iraqi civilians.) But hundreds of hardened, experienced, and still bloody minded Saudi Islamic terrorists have returned from Iraq. These guys are out for blood, and are willing to die for the cause.
But it gets worse.
Another new development, since the 1930s, is the number of Moslems entering the kingdom each year on pilgrimage (Hadj) to the Moslem holy places. Thats over three million foreigners entering the kingdom in a short period of time each year. There has always been a problem with some of them illegally staying on. Some of the Islamic terrorists already killed or arrested in the kingdom have been such men. It is feared there will be more, no matter how carefully Saudi security people scrutinizes the arriving pilgrims.
The Saudi royal family know that this is a fight to the death. The 1980s compromise didnt work, and this time around the battle has gone old school. But with a lot of new technology. The United States is providing a lot of technical help in the battle. Indirectly, the Saudis are even getting help from Israel, which has supplied the U.S. with many new ideas, and equipment, for fighting terrorism. The war on terror does indeed make strange bedfellows.