Saudi nationals have joined the Sunni insurgency
against U.S. troops in Iraq. At least one U.S. soldier daily has been killed over the last few weeks.
Meanwhile, a U.S.based Saudi opposition organization has reported that two Saudi nationals have been killed in the sporadic fighting, Middle East Newsline reported.
Last week, the U.S. Army's Third Division sent its 2nd Brigade to launch an
operation in several Sunni cities to quell the insurgency.
U.S. officials confirmed that Saudi nationals have financed and
participated in the Sunni insurgency. They said elements in Saudi Arabia
view the U.S. military presence in Iraq as that of the Soviet occupation of
Afganistan in the 1980s.
"They're not going to go back to where they came from until they are
either killed or captured," Joseph Collins, deputy assistant secretary of
defense for stability operations, said. Collins termed the fighters in Iraq
"jihadists" but did not mention from where they came.
Western diplomatic sources said members of the royal family have helped
finance the Sunni insurgency against Iraq. They said they have helped
purchase weapons and send Saudi nationals to fight in Iraq.
More than 100 Saudi nationals have been sent to help the Sunni
insurgency in Iraq, the sources said. They said this includes the Saudis who
have played a role in attacks on U.S. combat forces in Faluja, located 65
kilometers west of Baghdad and regarded as the center of the Sunni
On Wednesday, the London-based Al Hayat daily reported that U.S. troops
captured nearly 400 suspected Iraqi insurgents in a search operation in
several Sunni cities.
Earlier, the Washington-based Saudi Information Agency reported that two
Saudi fighters were killed in clashes with U.S. troops in May. The agency,
directed by the Saudi opposition, identified the Saudi nationals as Faisal
Al Otaibi and Taher Ashumari.
Saudi Arabia's state-supported clergy has encouraged Saudi nationals to
volunteer to fight in Iraq against the United States. Several of the clerics
have termed anti-U.S. operations a religious duty.
The Saudi opposition agency identified several Saudi clerics in the
forefront of support for the Sunni insurgency against the United States in
were Sheik Nasser Al Omar and Sheik Safar Al Hawali.
Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress, said the Sunni
insurgency has also been funded by deposed President Saddam Hussein. Chalabi
said Saddam has offered a bounty for any U.S. soldier killed.
"Now, he's put a price on American soldiers," Chalabi told the New
York-based Council on Foreign Relations on Tuesday. "He will pay bounty for
every American soldier killed in Iraq now. This has been spread around in
the western part of the country."