DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 14, 2003
A bare two days after the latest audio tape attributed to Osama bin Laden was aired, al Qaeda has spoken again, refusing to leave the stage to Washington's comments and the guesswork surrounding the high terror alert declared in the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Normally, months go by between al Qaeda statements. Not this time, according to a fresh release that reached debkafile's counter-terrorism and intelligence sources Thursday, February 13. The new Al Qaeda message is signed by Abu al Bara'a Al-Qarshy, one of bin Laden's most trusted lieutenants, who explicitly promises a painful terrorist attack is on the way. He hints that the attack will target Americans in Saudi Arabia or the Arabian Peninsula.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 19, 2002
Whether because of the proximity of Osama bin Laden in the Empty Quarter desert that fringes Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen and the UAR, or because of the debilitating squabbles besetting royal authority, debkafile's Gulf sources report that al Qaeda's followers in the oil kingdom are becoming increasingly brazen. Of late, they have been seen in the streets of Riyadh in armed gangs. Last Saturday, November 16, Saudi security forces clashed with a group in the al Shafaa quarter to the south of the capital. Both sides suffered casualties. Since the sounds of battle, automatic gunfire and exploding grenades were too loud for concealment, Interior Minister Prince Nayef, who is responsible for internal security, came out with an unusual statement Monday, November 14.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 14, 2002
The three overriding concerns exercising the Saudi royal family this past year were the state of relations with the Bush administration - the president and vice president, in particular; the handling of its unacknowledged ties with al-Qaeda and other radical Moslem groups - the Palestinian Hamas in the Gaza Strip and extremists in Pakistan, Bosnia and Chechnya; and the coming US war against Iraq.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 12, 2002
Saudi foreign minister Saud al Faisal's disclosure to the Washington Post of Sunday - August 11, that Iran had expelled to Saudi Arabia 16 al Qaeda fighters - was Riyadh's riposte for the damaging briefing presented recently by a Rand Corp analyst to a Pentagon advisory board. The briefing described Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the United States, charging the Saudis with being "active at every level of the terror chain from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 24, 2002
Saudi Arabia denies it has massed 8 brigades on its Jordanian border following secret intelligence reports of Israeli troop concentrations onits frontier with Jordan. (The Kingdom of Jordan is wedged between Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iraq and Syria.) Israel denied the Saudi claim Tuesday, April 23. The comeback was fast: "A responsible source" at the kingdom's defense and aviation ministry stated that Saudi armed forces units are merely conducting "routine exercises" in the northwestern region, not beefing up their troop presence there.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 28, 2002
Our military sources report that the Americans have completed the relocation to Qatar of their biggest Saudi air base at Prince Sultan. With the removal of most of the base's operational elements, Prince Sultan is no longer a part of the American operational deployment in the Persian Gulf and its preparations for war against Iraq. At the same time, the Saudi rulers have set their own military preparations in train. The Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz floated his Middle East peace initiative in the first place to enhance his standing in American eyes and also win points inside the royal house. As it turned out, his effort bounced back against him.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 25, 2002
Probably no one was more surprised than Saudi Arabia's virtual ruler, Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, by the furor - including Israel president Moshe Katsav's offer to fly to Riyadh - raised by a single sentence he uttered in an interview to the New York Times columnist Thomas L, Friedman, after it was published February 18: "...this is exactly the idea I had in mind - full withdrawal from all the occupied territories, in accordance with UN resolutions, including in Jerusalem, for full normalization of relations. I have drafted a speech along those lines [for the Arab League summit meeting in Beirut on March 28]."