Monday, November 10, 2003

Riyadh Bombing And Aftermath 

I'm going to post this cold turkey, without doing the preliminary barrage of reading.

I think it says a lot about Western counterterrorism efforts when al-Qaeda goes from making a totally unexpected attack upon the centre of its infidel enemies and killing thousands, to bombing a housing complex in its tacit ally and killing (for now) 17 people. Not that 17 deaths is not tragic, just that it probably wasn't the sort of prime target al-Qaeda was aiming for.

And now they've pissed off a lot of moderate Muslims who now realize that when these bastards talk about those who displease Allah, it's aimed at them too, and they're (hopefully) not going to give these SOBs the benefit of the doubt and let them get away with another attack.

Now, I am fully aware that Islam views the apostate as a bigger evil than the infidel (worse to abandon Allah than not to follow him at all), and that's what al-Qaeda viewed the residents of the bombed complex. But hey, these are guys that work with the Saudis, who they view as sellouts to the Americans; Iranians, who (in their eyes) totally fucked up Islamic theology; and Saddam, who didn't even get into the whole Allah thing until the Gulf War. They'll work with anyone to get at the Great Satan, which means that by bombing Muslims, they're getting desperate.

Of course, the situation isn't perfect. The Muslim world wasn't exactly reverberating with sounds of joy when all Afghanistan was freed from the Taliban, so some sort of 180 degree turn shouldn't be expected. But after al-Qaeda's two consecutive attacks in Saudi Arabia (excluding Iraq), hopefully some people will start coming to.

And this is probably going to strengthen the Saudi government, which isn't exactly a very benevolent regime, to say the least. But given the Bin Ladenist alternative, they're both equally evil but at least one is less prone to bombing the Western world. At least the Saudis can get freaked out about the prospect of democracy in Iraq and might actually reform a bit. Bin Laden types are too delusional to even consider that option.

In summary, one can hope for the best, but given the inertia of much of the Middle East, don't be too optimistic.
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