Tag Archive | "extremism"

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U.S Saudi Counter-Terrorism Partnership

Posted on 14 May 2011 by hashimilion

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 RIYADH 000408
SIPDIS
DEPARTMENT FOR M U/S PKENNEDY, DOE FOR DAS WBRYAN, CENTCOM
FOR POLAD
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/11/2014
TAGS: ECON ENRG EPET IR IZ MARR MCAP MOPS OVP PGOV
PK, PREL, PTER, SA, YM
SUBJECT: SAG-USG COUNTER-TERRORISM PARTNERSHIP
REF: A. A:07 RIYADH 1778
¶B. B: RIYADH 272
¶C. C: RIYADH 268
¶D. D: RIYADH 326
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission David Rundell
for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D)
¶1. (C) SUMMARY. The SAG’s MOI-hosted Security Conference in
Riyadh and the meeting between CENTCOM DCOM LtGen John Allen
with Asst. Minister for National Security Affairs Prince
Mohammed bin Naif (MbN) highlight the SAG’s commitment to
counter-terrorist activity in the Kingdom by partnering with
the USG in protecting its critical infrastructure, especially
its energy production sites. MbN reconfirmed the SAG’s
commitment to pay all critical infrastructure protection
costs of the Office of Program Management-Ministry of
Interior (OPM-MOI), including USG employee salaries. He
concurred any changes necessary in the Technical Cooperation
Agreement (TCA) be made to allow such payments, but remarked
hopefully the lawyers would not be problematic. Regarding
the Saudi deradicalization program, he considered it a
success in generating Saudi public anger at radical
extremists and was unconcerned by those who escaped the
program to rejoin Al Qaeda (AQ), noting they actually serve
the SAG’s purpose because they delegitimize extremism by
rebuffing the chance for rehabilitation and a new life,
further alienating violent radicals from the populace. MbN
did express concern that some ARAMCO employees posed a threat
of internal sabotage to oil facilities due to extremist
sympathies. END SUMMARY.
OPM-MOI NOW OPERATIONAL
———————–
¶2. (SBU) OPM-MOI, a DOS-led interagency security assistance
organization including DOE and DOD, established by the formal
TCA signed by the Secretary and Minister of Interior HRH
Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in May 2008 to partner with
the Saudi MOI in protecting the Kingdom’s critical
infrastructure with full SAG funding (Reftel A), is now
operational in Saudi Arabia. In the March 9 meeting between
LtGen Allen and MbN, LtGen Allen introduced the senior U.S.
military officer assigned to assist the MOI in training its
Facilities Security Force (FSF). Likewise, we informed MbN
of the arrival of the senior DOS officer in Riyadh on March
10 to serve as OPM-MOI’s Program Manager and overall leader.
These officers, along with the senior DOE Liaison and
associated CENTCOM and Embassy Riyadh personnel, now serve as
the core of OPM-MOI who will begin assisting the Saudis in
enhancing the protection of their critical infrastructure,
with initial focus on Saudi oil facilities.
¶3. (C) LtGen Allen reaffirmed to MbN the USG’s full
commitment to the protection of Saudi critical
infrastructure, emphasizing that CENTCOM Commander GEN David
Petraeus guarantees CENTCOM’s full support to this program.
Both concurred on the importance to the global economy of
preventing terrorists from attacking Saudi oil facilities.
MbN asserted the goal is to prevent attacks from ever being
carried out, recommending OPM-MOI include intelligence links
in its operational plans. LtGen Allen commended MOI’s
success in dealing with internal terrorist threats in the
Kingdom, and its successful rehabilitation program with Saudi
Guantanamo returnees and extremists captured in Saudi Arabia.
RIYADH 00000408 002 OF 003
¶4. (SBU) MbN was informed that the initial OPM-MOI work
contracts, consisting of the DOE Project Specific Agreement
(PSA) to conduct vulnerability assessments of oil sites and
the DOD Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) to implement
urgent needs training of FSF troops, have been submitted to
MOI staff for approval and signature. MbN was grateful for
USG efforts and assured us full funding would soon follow the
signing of these documents, and reconfirmed the SAG’s
commitment to pay all OPM-MOI costs. He also agreed to fund
all USG employee costs, concurring with any necessary TCA
changes to allow such payments, commenting that “hopefully
the lawyers will not cause us any problems.”
¶5. (SBU) MbN had previously acknowledged to the Ambassador
the MOI’s lack of technical capacity in effectively working
with OPM-MOI. To rectify this problem, OPM-MOI has begun
coordination with the Saudis for SAG-funded English language
and management training in the U.S. for mid-level MOI
officers who will be our future interlocutors. In the
interim, OPM-MOI is drafting a plan for MOI to contract and
fund bilingual Americans experienced in USG contracting and
Foreign Military Sales to work in MOI assisting in PSA, LOA,
and related OPM-MOI projects.
DEFUSING THE INTERNAL SAUDI THREAT
———————————-
¶6. (SBU) MOI sponsored the second annual Riyadh Security
Conference from March 2-5, which included such notables as
FBI Director Robert Mueller and former Attorney General Edwin
Meese. Other participants were U.S., British and Saudi
security officials, academics, and the U.S. and U.K
Ambassadors to the Kingdom. The theme of this well-received
conference was how to deradicalize extremists. This topic
was noteworthy as several Saudi Guantanamo returnees had
recently disappeared, with two resurfacing in Yemen as AQ
members (Reftels B, C and D).
¶7. (C) In private discussions with us, MbN observed it was
unfortunate these individuals had escaped and some had
rejoined AQ, but stated the Saudi deradicalization
rehabilitation program was nonetheless a success and was
unconcerned by these individuals. He explained while these
Guantanamo returnees rejoining AQ in Yemen was embarrassing
to the SAG, the program itself was achieving the true goal of
turning the Saudi populace against extremist radicals. These
individuals were being denounced by the Saudi public, and
even by their immediate families. The SAG was offering these
individuals employment and marriage opportunities to allow
new, peaceful and productive lives. MbN shared that if the
Saudi people saw that the SAG had offered these extremists a
helping hand which they slapped away, instead of a clenched
fist used against them, then their families, tribes and the
Saudi nation as a whole would view the SAG as “the
benefactor” and these unrepentant extremists as “deviants.”
According to MbN, in Arab culture this is an extremely
powerful and advantageous position for the SAG as it cuts off
the necessary public support extremists need to operate.
THREATS – YEMEN, IRAN AND FROM WITHIN
————————————-
¶8. (C) In response to his views on the current threat, MbN
listed three:
— Yemen was “a dangerous, failed state” similar to
Afghanistan by allowing AQ to regroup and become its
RIYADH 00000408 003 OF 003
operational base. He mentioned the SAG was using its funds
to gain Yemeni tribal cooperation through public works
programs, especially as a way to curb the lawlessness along
the Saudi-Yemeni border. MbN offered that while Yemeni
President Saleh was not the best leader, after 30 years in
power, his removal, either through natural causes or
rebellion, would leave a vacuum that would further weaken
Yemen. He opined that overtures to the Taliban in
Afghanistan were useful, as it would make Al Qaeda leaders
there nervous and unsure if they would be betrayed, but this
would also make them more likely to seek “safe haven” in
Yemen. LtGen Allen informed that U.S. Special Forces and
U.S. Navy trainers were stepping cooperation with Yemeni
forces to counter border and maritime threats.
— Iran, according to MbN, was a greater threat from its
destabilizing actions than from its nuclear program. He
added Iran currently has many weaknesses due to its
deteriorating economy. USG overtures for talks with Iran
would exploit those weaknesses and further undermine the
mullahs.

— Regarding the internal Saudi threat, MbN stated AQ was
beaten down in the Kingdom, but he was concerned of “insiders
in ARAMCO” and that ARAMCO employees with full access to its
facilities were extremists or extremist/Hezbollah
sympathizers, using their authorized access and/or technical
knowledge to commit sabotage. Again, he then emphasized the
importance of OPM-MOI to provide rapid training of the FSF
and detailed assessments of the vulnerabilities of Saudi oil
facilities.
¶9. (C) COMMENT. The SAG has worked to counter terrorism
within the Kingdom, achieving significant success. Both
through its kinetic operations against AQ, to its soft power
deradicalization rehabilitation program where it has turned
the Saudi public against AQ and violent extremism. Bilateral
cooperation on the protection of Saudi critical
infrastructure, as previously reported, is of immense
importance to ensure adequate energy supplies are available
to the global economy. OPM-MOI offers a tremendous venue to
strengthen the U.S.-Saudi bilateral relationship which then
allows a broadening of Saudi support on a host of issues.
END COMMENT.
FRAKER

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Saudis Must Stop Meddling in Bahrain

Posted on 17 February 2011 by hashimilion

Bahrain might be viewed as vulnerable to unrest because of deep-rooted discontent with the ruling al-Khalifas. Economic hardship and lack of political freedoms could incite a revolution similar to those in Egypt and Tunisia. Will the Bahraini regime be the next government to fall?

Press TV conducted an interview with Bahraini opposition leader Saeed al-Shahabi in London to bring a better insight on the ongoing unrest in the country.

PressTV: The recent October elections in Bahrain: people are fresh off the crackdown that occurred then: You were tried in absentia: Human rights abuses were rampant then on the opposition: The constitution left no room for any fair representation. Tell us about the situation.

al-Shahabi: I think the first thing that is striking is the sheer number of people who have suddenly burst into anger and decide to come out to streets, and the square there, the Pearl Square which is now renamed as the Martyr square is full of all type of people from businessmen, professors, doctors, scholars and students.

This is a new phenomenon since 1956 when we had a major uprising against the British rule at the time and their support of the al-Khalifa family. We have seen skirmishes, outburst of anger but we haven’t seen such uprising to this extend of determination of the regime change. We haven’t seen anything like this. I think it is an indication to the corruption and the inevitability of the regime change. It has lost its legitimacy, its credibility, and its international status as a modern state that respects the right of its own citizens.

PressTV: I want you to describe the years of oppression that al-Khalifas had exercised. And the most recent was the October crackdown. Would you elaborate on that so we can get some background information to see why people are so dissatisfied?

al-Shahabi: We have had repression going back to 1965 when people were being killed during demonstrations in the streets and then we had more over in the 70s, but most of it was in the 80s when at least 6 to 8 people were martyred in detention centers, and in the 90s when we had the uprising between 1994 and 1999 in which at least forty people were killed either by gunshots, wounds or under torture.

But more recently what we saw in the past six months when Dr….returned home from UK, was arrested and since then there was a spate of arrests that included hundreds of young people– as young as ten years of age– scholars, academics, professors who have been tortured beyond beliefs. They were tortured by being hanged from hands and legs, beaten or being forced to break their fast during Ramadhan which is considered as one of the worst tortures on scholars. So such a thing had not happened so far.

We see people who have been ill-treated, or have been out of jobs for years and they cannot afford their lives. They don’t feel even safe on their own land. All these contributed to the burst of anger among people. What we see today is an uprising against this regime.

PressTV: A bridge connects Bahrain to Saudi Arabia: Will they let their royal family member be toppled?

al-Shahabi: It would be very sad and tragic if the Saudis attempt to interfere in the case of Bahrain. This is an internal struggle by people who want to get free from this dictatorship.

The Saudis must respect the right of Bahrainis to determine their destiny. Everyone has the right to determine his or her destiny and Bahrainis must enjoy that right. The other point is that the Saudis would not be immune from criticism if they ever attempt to intervene directly in the affairs of Bahrain because the Saudis are known specially in the West as being the masters of terrorism. They are cultivating extremism inside their country and the world has seen atrocities that were committed by the people who were either financed, trained, or brought in the Saudi kingdom.

So I don’t think it is in the interest of the Saudis to interfere in Bahrain internal affairs. In fact people of Bahrain who have moved forward have so far been very polite, civilized and very peaceful.

There is no justification for intervention in Bahrain’s affairs. The Saudis must know that this uprising could have been taken place in Bahrain many years ago.

This regime does not care about people. It only cares about itself. It only is interested in expropriating the lands and stealing the wealth of the nation not building house for them or providing their welfare. So Saudi Arabia is well advised to avoid interfering in its neighbor’s internal affairs.

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