Bin Laden plans to instigate
U.S. attack on Saudi Arabia

Friday, January 30, 2004

Al Qaida has drafted a strategy that includes an effort to destroy relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States, according to the "Voice of Jihad," an Internet site.

An online publication said to be sponsored by Al Qaida spelled out the Islamic movement's strategy as provoking a split between Riyad and Washington. The publication said Al Qaida seeks to launch a major attack on the United States that would result in its retaliation against Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Dept. confirmed that it had expelled Saudi diplomats.

The Voice of Jihad, which has carried other statements from Al Qaida, quoted a message from Osama Bin Laden as saying that the United States will be the target of a major attack. The message said Al Qaida hopes Washington will then seek to capture the Saudi oil fields and overthrow the royal family.

On Thursday, Al Qaida continued its attacks on the Saudi regime, Middle East Newsline reported. Five Saudi security officers were killed in a shootout with suspected Al Qaida insurgents in Riyad. The insurgents were said to have stored weapons in plans to launch an attack during the current Islamic pilgrimage in the Saudi kingdom.

In late 2003, CIA officials told Congress that Al Qaida has targeted the Saudi royal family. The officials said Al Qaida wants to isolate the kingdom by driving out the Western presence and leaving the family defenseless.

"We continue to strike at America and we expect that our next blow will cause the collapse of the situation [in Saudi Arabia] as a result of a vengeful response," Sheik Abdullah Al Rashoud said in the Jan. 20 issue of the "Voice of Jihad." "The first result [of this attack] will be the direct occupation of the oil resources and the U.S. entry [into Saudi Arabia] in order to implement a fundamental change."

[At the same time, the State Department acknowledged that it ordered the expulsion of 16 Saudi diplomats. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the diplomats had been employed as instructors at a Saudi-sponsored religious college in Virginia rather than working in the Saudi embassy in Washington.]

"You see day after day an increase in military operations and terrorist operations in Saudi Arabia, and the Saudi Arabian government is working very hard to defeat the terrorist threat," Gen. John Abizaid, the chief of U.S. Central Command, told a briefing in Washington.

The Saudi Interior Ministry said the shootout erupted when security forces raided an insurgency hideout. The ministry said one insurgent was arrested and another was killed.

The detainee, who was not named, was identified as one of the leading fugitives wanted by Saudi authorities. Another eight suspected Al Qaida operatives were said to have escaped.

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