debkafile Exclusive: Al Qaeda’s latest menace to America’s oil sources embodies a plan to inflame Saudi Shiites against the Riyadh throne
In the February issue of Sawt al Jihad entitled “Bin Laden and the Oil Weapon”, the Saudi wing of the jihadist group calls for attacks on US oil suppliers in the Middle East, Canada, Venezuela and Mexico. In a separate article, al Qaeda reports preparations for “quality attacks to shake the foundations of the crusaders in the Arabian Peninsula.”
debkafile‘s al Qaeda experts draw some disquieting conclusions from the two articles:
1. That the magazine reappeared after a nearly two-year absence is the first sign that Osama bin Laden’s organization has been able to regroup and reorganize its operational cells, despite a heavy Saudi security clampdown.
2. Those cells are primed for a fresh wave of attacks – not only against oil targets but also American military, economic and commercial interests as well as civilians working and living in the oil kingdom.
3. Stress in the magazine’s title is placed on bin Laden – and the disclosure that a special unit called “Sheik Osama bin Laden’s Companies” has been created for the new terror offensive – indicates that he is handing out the orders as supreme commander. It negates the widely held premise in the West that bin Laden was a spent force and fully occupied in flight and concealment rather than operational command of his organization.
4. The article defines Saudi Arabia as “a land of war.” Al Qaeda applies this epithet to nations where war is waged to transform them into “lands of peace” meaning lands where Islamic law is in force. Saudi Arabia thus joins Iraq as target of al Qaeda’s violent ire and destined to the same fate.
The Sheik bin Laden’s Companies’ central mission is to forestall the perils posed the Arabian Peninsula by Iran and the indigenous Saudi Shiite minority. Therefore, the jihadists will launch attacks on the 3-4 million long-suppressed Saudi Shiites (whose population inhabits and is gainfully employed in the oil-rich Eastern Provinces of the kingdom).
This is interpreted by debkafile‘s sources as a stratagem for igniting sectarian war in Saudi Arabia on the Iraq model in the oil regions of the kingdom. The Shiite backlash to al Qaeda strikes is likely to come in the form of sabotage of Saudi oil installations, the prime assets of the Sunni Wahhabist royal house.
debkafile‘s experts rate this as the most acute potential threat the Saudi throne, as well as its oil riches, have ever faced – if the scenario depicted in Sawt al Jihad comes off.
The group was behind a failed February 2006 attack on the world’s largest oil processing plant, the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless, Canada, Mexico and Venezuela are taking al Qaeda’s threat seriously.