April 27, 2007

Saudis Avoid Their Own 9/11

Saudi Arabia has arrested over 170 suspected terrorists, including foreign-trained pilots, to end a plot against their oil fields. The terrorists allegedly planned to use commercial airliners to smash into the oil facilities and disrupt the entire global economy:

Police arrested 172 Islamic militants, some of whom had trained abroad as pilots so they could fly aircraft in attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil fields, the Interior Ministry said Friday. A spokesman said all that remained in the plot "was to set the zero hour."

The ministry issued a statement saying the detainees were planning to carry out suicide atttacks against "public figures, oil facilities, refineries ... and military zones" — some of which were outside the kingdom.

"They had reached an advance stage of readiness and what remained only was to set the zero hour for their attacks," Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Mansour al-Turki told the Associated Press in a phone call. "They had the personnel, the money, the arms. Almost all the elements for terror attacks were complete except for setting the zero hour for the attacks."

The ministry did not say the militants would fly aircraft into oil refineries, as the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackers flew planes into buildings in New York and Washington, but it said in a statement that some detainees had been "sent to other countries to study flying in preparation for using them to carry out terrorist attacks inside the kingdom."

Of course, these are the Saudis, so the possibility exists that this is a ruse used to round up dissidents. However, al-Qaeda has conducted operations against the Saudis before. The Sauds have had gun battles and extensive operations against AQ, and of course, we all remember Khobar Towers last decade.

The terrorists intended this to be a wide-ranging raid. They wanted to storm prisons to free their associates, attack military installations, and destroys economic targets, especially oil facilities. Apparently assassinations were also on the menu, as the Saudis said that "public figures" had been targeted. Saudi security forces uncovered a large cache of arms in the desert, which they displayed for domestic television audiences.

They also captured a whopping $32 million in cash. That kind of loss has to hurt.

What does this mean for the West and for the world? It will probably spike oil prices briefly, until investors and speculators are sure the immediate danger has passed. Once again, we will have to address the training of pilots for larger passenger jets, as it appears that we have inadvertently enabled the conversion of airliners into guided missiles. The amount of money confiscated shows that we have yet to fully cut off the financing of these groups, and that exposures of efforts like the Swift banking surveillance can seriously damage our ability to prevent terrorist attacks, in a general sense.

One big hit on the Saudi supply centers will make the economic fallout of 9/11 look like a minor Wall Street correction in comparison. We had better start getting serious about eliminating dependence on the world oil market and developing our own resources as quickly as possible.


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More good news. The Saudis have made a huge bust. They say the terrorists included non-Saudis and some were trained as pilots. Was Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi among them? I'm not sure but some are speculating that is the case. The... [Read More]

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Comments (13)

Posted by seejanemom [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 27, 2007 10:38 AM


Can we START with ceasing ALL JOINT MILITARY TRAINING with the Saudi Military...Huh? Can we START THERE?

Just sayin'..............

Posted by NahnCee [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 27, 2007 10:58 AM

I'm wondering if the "terrorists" rounded up by the Saudi government are home-grown Saudi jihadists, or if they're imported from Pakistan, India, or other countries in the Middle East.

Since Saudi exports their homegrown mujahadeen to Iraq, it seems only fair that Iran, et al, send their young wannabe martyrs to the Kingdom to blow up stuff.

When we return captured Saudi terrorists to the Kingdom from Gitmo and other places they've been nabbed, the Kingdom blithely releases them on the premise that because they've committed no crime WITHIN Saudi Arabia, there's no reason to hold them. They also have a program they've been bragging about to unbrainwash captured terrorists who have been thinking bad thoughts. I would love to know if any of the current 172 have had up close and personal experience in Afghanistan or Iraq and/or if they went through the unbrainwashing program.

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 27, 2007 11:15 AM

If it's real, the Saudis will be hauling in a lot more than 172.

Hopefully, US intelligence is in on the interrogation of these little darlings. Whatever will become of them? Since they're not at GITMO, the world will NOT be watching. Let the limb-lopping begin.

And there hasn't been any US-Saudi "joint training" for years, BTW. Any in the future will be at minor, company grade level. Not a whole lot of intell that comes out of that, just a dog and pony show/goodwill type of thing.

Posted by Lightwave [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 27, 2007 11:43 AM

If the Saudis actually took action, it was because had no choice out of pure self-interest. Also, I wonder how much of that $32 million went around SWIFT surveillance sources because of the NY Times gleefully notifying the enemy.

As I passed gas stations at $2.99 a gallon this morning, ask yourself why we're not drilling in ANWR as a national economic security priority. When the mere hint of a threat to an oil refinery causes oil to jump a dollar a barrel, there's something wrong with not doing everything we can to secure any oil we can get in the US. Your job is not dependent on caribou steaks or bird nesting. It is dependent on just-in-time delivery model warehousing and energy costs.

There's no slack in the supply system. There needs to be. All the hybrid cars and carbon credits in the world won't help with the raw, basic fuel needs of 18 wheelers full of goods for Wal-Mart and planeloads of Al Gore liberals jetting around the world. We need oil. If there's oil in ANWR, we need to find it and get it to market.

Posted by docjim505 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 27, 2007 1:12 PM

Cap'n Ed wrote:

We had better start getting serious about eliminating dependence on the world oil market and developing our own resources as quickly as possible.

I agree, but the greenies will only allow us to use technology that... doesn't really exist, like electric cars that only need to charge for five minutes but can travel 1000 miles at 85 mph, or windfarms that don't spoil the view from The Swimmer's family compound. Greenies aren't very good at thinking about the ramifications of their pipe dreams because they're usually in such a hurry to feel so gosh darned GOOD about themselves and how They Care (TM) about Mother Earth.

For example, a few weeks ago, Sean Hannity had Darryl Hannah on his program. She's quite the greenie, and, to do her credit, she walks the talk (unlike Algore). She drives a car powered by vegetable oil. It's green in that it's a renewable energy source, but it still spews CO2 and oxides of nitrogren just like a gasoline engine. I expect that it also puts out quite a lot of particulate matter as it runs much like a diesel engine. I'd also be curious about other pollutants; does vegetable oil contain, for example, significant amounts of sulfur? By the way: does anybody know how much vegetable oil the US would have to produce to run all our cars and trucks... and how much we CAN produce?

I'm a big believer in technology and the ability of people (especially Americans) to come up with technical solutions to problems. I think that we will eventually come up with such things as an electric car that can perform as well (range, speed, power) as a gasoline powered car, or nuclear power plants that are intrinsically safe and don't create lots of hazardous waste. Unfortunately, the technology is only half the problem. The other half is political, and the greenies do more than their fair share of putting up roadblocks against American energy independence.

Posted by NahnCee [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 27, 2007 1:12 PM

When is the West going to put an embargo on training ANY more people who have names like Abdul, Achmed or Mohammad to fly airplanes? Where did the latest bunch of trained pilots who were part of the arrested group receive their training? What country?

Posted by Soldier's Dad [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 27, 2007 1:21 PM

"Can we START with ceasing ALL JOINT MILITARY TRAINING with the Saudi Military...Huh? Can we START THERE?"

If the goal of Osama is to have an Islamic Caliphate...then he needs to control Mecca.

Confusing those Saudis who wish to overthrow the Saudi Government with the Saudi Government would be a big mistake.

Osama has wanted to overthrow the Saudi Government for at least a decade...if not 2.

The last thing the world needs at the moment is another Iranian style islamic revolution....

Posted by The Fly-Man [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 27, 2007 3:33 PM

The greenies, huh. I live in Maryland and have a Republican congressman who I voted for because of his attention to our dependency on oil. What the hell has your congressperson done?

Posted by Fight4TheRight [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 27, 2007 6:50 PM

Apparently, Dick Durbin is en route to Saudi Arabia to ensure that the 172 prisoners are not mistreated and to coordinate accomodations for them at the Ritz Carlton/Riyadh.

Posted by patrick neid [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 27, 2007 8:21 PM

i'm never sure how to feel when the saudis round up terrorists. i mean are they terrorists in the sense that we use the word or are they internal terroists who want to bring down the house of saud---ie bin laden? the reason i tend to yawn when i hear this is the saudi government spending over 100 billion to date to spread wahabbism world wide including the US. whabbism as you may know is the saudi equivalent of the "taliban with money".
assuming we don't surrender in iraq and parts elsewhere, sooner or later the war on terror ends up at the house of saud. a casual perusal of wahabbism will convince you of this.

Posted by conservative democrat [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 27, 2007 9:38 PM

The dependence on middle east oil will eventually put us to our knees. Why isn't our government (both parties) trying to find alternatives. Are we too busy beating up each other to solve this problem? I'd vote for ANY candidate that would take on this problem. I also don't believe anything the Saudis say. They've produced nutjobs like Osama because of how oppressive their country is. Bush wants democracy in Iraq, how about starting with his hand holding buddy in Saudi Arabia.

Posted by TokyoTom [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 28, 2007 3:04 AM

"We had better start getting serious about eliminating dependence on the world oil market and developing our own resources as quickly as possible."

Ed, this is a pipedream, to begin with. Our reliance on imports has been steadily growing since before the 70s oil embargo. Demand simply outstrips supply, which is increasingly expensive at home. Opening up ANWAR and some of the shelf make sense, but would barely make a dent.

However, this still merits consideration. Do you think it makes much sense for us to subsidize oil imports the way that we do, by not reflecting our ME defense costs in the costs of imports (or even running them through the budget)? Economists have been telling us for years that if we wish to lessen imports, dampen domestic demand and incentivize domestic production, we need to charge import tariffs.

But Republicans (Dems either) certainly have shown no stomach for THAT. Rather, the preferred option of presidents and Congresscritters is to keep pouring taxpayer dollars down the hole - by trying to prop up every oil dictatorship around the world.

Isn`t it obvious now the counterproductivity/blowback/folly of that pig in a poke?

The truly conservative approach of course would NOT be to create new taxes to fund more counterproductive government, but to stop providing military support for every oil oligarchy that is using its nation`s resources to enrich themselves.

Yes, regimes will change, and there will be some disruption - disruption that we are not immune to now - but oil is fungible, and at least we won`t be wasting our money by making ourselves the enemy everywhere.

And if other importers want stability, by God they`ll have to work with us to pay for it.

Posted by Acheron [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 28, 2007 4:12 PM

Vegetable oil, indeed! Why not recall the Stanley brothers from technological Limbo to mass produce their celebrated Steamer, using propane tanks to heat the boiler?

As of 2005, Mexico commenced massive oil-drilling in the Gulf of California, to nary a squeak from radical enviro-wackos Stateside. Why? Because ANWR etc. has nothing to do with "conservation", everything to do with a reactionary Luddite mindset that encompasses nuclear energy as well as petrochemical. Arrogant trustafarian elitism, narcisisstic and selfish to the nth degree, is your greenie-weenie's invariable stock-in-trade.

We project that 2010 - 2029 (20 years) will see a global cooling phase similar to the 40-years from 1940 - 1979, perfectly in line with cyclical geophysical and intra-solar factors we have treated elsewhere. When this occurs, heating costs will rise in tandem with those of transportation. Solutions --ANWR drilling, nuclear plants et.al.-- have been available for decades.

Energy crises are purely political, and do not say "we": Extreme-leftist ideology allied to retrogressive partisan political scaremongering has not only subverted public welfare but short-circuited all foresight. Unbelievably infantile and stupid polities have only themselves to blame.