Al Qaida has launched a campaign to drive away millions
of foreign laborers in an attempt to destroy the regime in Saudi Arabia.
A report by the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation said Al Qaida
attacks on housing compounds in Riyad have been aimed to intimidate and
an estimated four million foreign workers from the kingdom. The report said
Al Qaida has also targeted financial institutions that own or have a stake
in Saudi Arabia.
"The current campaign seems to be targeting the estimated four million
foreign workers in the country, a number that includes 30,000 British and
30,000 American workers," the report said. "In addition, at least 10,000
non-uniform U.S. troops remain in the kingdom."
In November, Al Qaida blew up the British-based HSBC Bank in Istanbul,
Turkey. HSBC owns 40 percent of the Saudi-British Bank, Middle East Newsline reported.
Authored by John Daly, an adjunct scholar at the Washington-based Middle
the report did not rule out that Al Qaida's next step would be to target
Saudi Arabia's oil sector. Oil revenues account for up to 95 percent of
Saudi export earnings and up to 80 percent of state revenues. The kingdom is
expected to earn $70 billion in export revenues in 2003.
"There are already signs that Al Qaida is considering the country's
petrochemical complexes; a joint CIA-Saudi effort in the summer of 2002
broke up a plot targeting Ras Tanura, and Saudi security arrested five men,"
the report said. "Even Ali Al Naimi, Saudi Aramco chairman and Minister of
Petroleum and Natural Resources, has acknowledged the vulnerability of the
oil infrastructure, admitting that, 'terminals and power systems could be a
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has acknowledged that it has failed to stop
financing to Al Qaida. Saudi security sources said Al Qaida has managed to
collect millions of dollars from contributions collected by state-owned
Interior Ministry spokesman Saud Al Musaibih said several of the Al
suspects captured over the last month were found to have possessed large
amounts of cash. Al Musaibih said the cash came from charity boxes places in
mosques in violation of a recent Saudi law.
"During the investigations with the terrorists who were caught, it
became clear that some of them carried large quantities of money, and its
sources were charity boxes that did not comply with official standards and
regulations," Al Musaibh said. "The terrorists were collecting the money
from those boxes that were being put in mosques, colleges, schools and
markets and carried pictures of war victims."
The sources said Al Qaida funds have been used to recruit operatives and
purchase weapons and explosives for attacks in Saudi Arabia. Reports from
Saudi Arabia assert that authorities have captured 100 surface-to-air
missiles smuggled from Yemen to the kingdom.
"We have no information about the seizure of any weapons while being
smuggled into the kingdom," Maj. Gen. Saleh Al Sentali, head of the Saudi
border guards in Jizan, told Saudi media. "If there had been a weapons
seizure of this magnitude, we would have been notified immediately."