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June 21, 2004
AQ Accuses Saudis Of Assisting Johnson Abduction

According to an al-Qaeda website, sympathizers within the Saudi security forces assisted the AQ abduction of Paul Johnson, both materially and tactically, CNN reports:

Islamic militants who abducted and beheaded American engineer Paul Johnson say sympathetic Saudi security forces aided their kidnapping operation with police uniforms and vehicles -- an allegation a top Saudi official denied. ...

In a lengthy narrative about the kidnapping that was posted Sunday on the Islamist Web site Voice of Jihad, Johnson's kidnappers said they stopped his car at a fake checkpoint, transferred him to another car and took him to another location.

The VoJ site claimed that security forces supplied the terrorists with uniforms and vehicles as well as some operational security for the abduction in a scenario that some had already hypothesized. The Saudis, predictably, refuted the notion:

But Adel al-Jubeir, the foreign policy adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, told CNN the claim fell "in the realm of fiction."

"It's very easy to obtain police uniforms, military uniforms," he told CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer. "You go to a surplus store, and you get all you want." ... "The notion that our security services are infiltrated by the terrorists really doesn't hold," he said. "If that were the case, they would not be going after soft targets. They would be going after government installations."

Al-Jubeir is probably right. First and foremost, if the AQ cells were receiving assistance from security forces, why would they advertise it? It seems to me to be a classic misdirection tactic -- get the security apparatus to waste time chasing its own tail while AQ does what it pleases during the confusion. Somewhat like the Nazi strategy of putting on American uniforms during the Winter Offensive of 1944, it attempts to undermine the authority of actual police and military personnel while they wreak havoc. Revealing actual methods of attacks and abductions, however, just to make a few headlines is too stupid and shortsighted for even these lunatics.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 21, 2004 6:33 AM

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