Alan Caruba / May 20, 2003

Can the United States trust the leaders of Saudi Arabia? This is comparable to asking if the Israelis can trust the Palestinians.

I was not surprised when Islamic suicide bombers struck in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. There, in the capitol of a nation that considers itself the most Islamic of all nations, those who have preached and underwritten it for decades put Jihad on full display. This was followed by announcements there and in the US that more bombings could be coming.

In what I regard as a disingenuous and possibly duplicitous "spin" on the event, the spokesman for the Saudi royal family, the only "government" in Saudi Arabia, told Americans that our two nations are now clearly the common enemies of al Qaeda. Simply stated, Americans have nothing in common with Saudi Arabia other than the oil pumped from beneath its sands.

It is essential to keep in mind that the attack was on a compound where Americans and other westerners lived. Its intent was to drive these "infidels" out of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis believe contact with the West is a form of spiritual contamination.

The situation in Saudi Arabia is very murky. Osama bin Ladin did issue a call for the overthrow of the Saudi royal family. Fundamentalist Muslims have challenged the Saudi royal family in the past, but the royal family are themselves fundamentalists. The Saudis have spent billions to spread Wahhabism, the most fundamentalist form of Islam, via mosques and madrasses in nations around the world, including the US. They have given millions to the Palestinians to sustain the war against Israel.

What and who are we to believe? On 9-11, we were the target of an attack in which fifteen of the nineteen perpetrators were Saudis. American soldiers were killed in a bombing in Dhahran in 1996. They thwarted the efforts of US investigators to determine who perpetrated the bombing. There is some confusion as to whether the Saudis are providing full cooperation to US investigators of the Riyadh bombing. Recently, the US announced it was withdrawing its troops from Saudi Arabia. The question in my mind is this; did the Riyadh bombing serve what the Saudis believe to be their real interest, the advancement of Islam?

To understand the fanaticism and insanity driving the Jihad, one must examine the phenomenon at the very heart of the violence being visited on "infidel" and Muslim alike, the suicide-murderer. It is the ultimate expression of Islam, whether the bomber is a Palestinian, a Saudi, a Moroccan, a Chechen, an Egyptian or any other nationality.

Because suicide and, in particular, suicide for the purpose of murdering people, is so utterly foreign to the minds of Americans, the depth of the Islamic Jihad loose in the world is only beginning to be understood. Apologists for Islam continue to claim it is a peaceful religion, but the evidence that it is not is written in the blood of its victims.

Both Christianity and Judaism prohibit suicide. Both prohibit murder. Indeed, the Hebrew translation of "Thou shall not kill" is actually "Thou shall not commit murder." Islam prohibits suicide, too, but it not only authorizes suicide for the purpose of committing murder, i.e., martyrdom, it encourages it. Anyone who is seen to be an enemy of Islam may be killed. This is utterly devoid of any connection to modern civilization, but until 9-11, suicide-murders, called "martyrdom operations", enjoyed wide support in the Arab world. Only after did they become the subject of debate.

The Jihad, so far, has resulted in the US suppression of the Taliban, al Qaeda's surrogates in Afghanistan, and the extension of US power into the heart of the Middle East, Iraq. We are there to stay for a long time. Until the Islamic Jihad is eliminated, it will remain a threat to every civilized nation, including Islamic nations struggling to be a part of the modern world.

My own reading of history suggests Jihad may, in fact, signal the death knell of this seventh century barbarous personality cult. Many enlightened, former Muslims have rejected Islam even in the face of the Koran's death penalty for apostasy. Jihad is the desperation of fundamentalist Muslims trying to save Islam from what they perceive as its decline. In this respect, Jihad, with its emphasis on terror, reflects the rise and fall of Communism in Soviet Russia.

There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world and I am guessing most are genuinely peaceful, decent people. This "holy war" threatens them no less than the rest of us "infidels."

Alan Caruba is the author of "Warning Signs", a new book. His weekly column is posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center ( "A Pocket Guide to Militant Islam" is available from the Center.

Copyright, Alan Caruba, 2003

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