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
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
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
"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.