View Full Version : Bombs rock Saudi capital

13th May 2003, 09:53
News coming in , of a series of very big bomb blasts, in the compounds of expatriates in Saudi.

Hope everyone is ok, Pater, PC-9 et al

13th May 2003, 19:08
My condolences to all concerned. Hope this particular brand of ill feeling doesn't cross the water.

CNN quoting Colin Powell "This has all the earmarks of an Al-Qaeda operation".

If this is the case then it raises some very interesting questions concerning the War on Terror. It might even make some people think that the last couple of months' endeavours in Iraq might have been a total waste of time.....

13th May 2003, 19:22
Terrible news - but not unexpected given Al-Qaeda's main issue has always been the presence of "infidel" US forces in the Persian Gulf region.

Putting thousands more into the region was never going to be a solution to the problem of radical Islamic terrorism - although it has allowed the US to announce its withdrawal from Saudi Arabia. That obviously doesn't seem to have placated Al-Qaeda though.

13th May 2003, 23:31
The Saudi government has always felt it could buy/bribe its way out of these troubles. It will be interesting to see what happens one the US forces are gone. Alqueda doesn't like them either, though they happily took their money.

If they fall, it will just be too damn bad for them...


13th May 2003, 23:39
Someone in the govt has to be in on it--the perps just escaped? This Riyadh isn't like downtown New York---everything is tightly controlled, and it's not that populated.

14th May 2003, 00:34
Oh my God I'm agreeing with Bubbette:uhoh: :uhoh: :uhoh:

Interesting to note what happened to the Oil price at opening this morning, how very strange. Unfortunately, it implies this won't be the last attack

If you're non-essential in Saudi , get out, because they'll back the locals before they look after you:*

14th May 2003, 00:46
yikes! Look out solotk!

14th May 2003, 01:00

You may be confusing two reports here. Last week, there was a gun battle in Riyadh, and a large haul of explosives was found. The Saudis then posted the pictures of 19 people they would like to contact. None of these 19 is thought to have been apprehended yet.

Initial reports on today's incident suggests that up to 9 terrorists were killed during the bombing. They "may" include some of the 19 wanted.

No doubt this story will be developing over the next few days.

14th May 2003, 02:08
No, I was thinking of the one today. I can't believe they can't find the perpetrators, and the planners, in Saudi Arabia if they wanted to.

14th May 2003, 02:10
Thank you for your concern Tony, it is sad when this happens, as it has in many parts of the world. We seem to be seeing a rise in Fundamentalism in all the major religions. In spite of and almost as a result of the steady progression of secularism resulting from the forward momentum of scientific and cultural progress, and which had created a division and increasing separation of religion and governance.
This increase in militant piety has occurred in almost all major religions and manifests itself in acts of violence. In it's name Presidents have been assinated or deposed. Worshippers in mosques, churches, synagogues and temples are been targeted, attacked. Innocent bystanders in markets, workplaces, and homes are the targets of terrorist bombers, doctors and nurses in abortion clinics have been shot and killed.
Fundamentalists seem to repudiate much of what most of us feel are the hardwon prizes of civilisation; religious tolerance, peace, personal liberties, separation of religion and state.
Such people have seemingly turned to the theology of rage, and resentment, killing in the name of what they profess to believe, seeking to violently force a return to regious values. They are living proof of the powerful forces within us that subborn reason and replace it with a fear that they are themselves in danger of being overcome and destroyed.
It is this fear that creates the agression and distortions we face now. It is only by attempting to understand these fears that we can begin to hope to control the forces that so violently play out all across the world. Only by tolerance and respect for one another can we begin to even hope to controll our own inner passions fears and desires, and regretfully the Fundamentalists seem to hold to none of these. They are amongst us everywhere, they are not confined to one religion or one country or one race.
We are it appears our own enemies and in our frustrated aspiration to ideals of universal love, tolerance, freedom, peace and eqality, and all that we hold to be paramount, attack one another in the name of what we hold dearest.

14th May 2003, 02:21

You write very well,

I would love to know how many people have died in the last 2000 years in the name of someone's god. It will be a mind boggling number, I'm sure.

Based on a thread in the military forum, it appears that SA is heating up very quickly, which countries have the largest populations there? Are they military or civilian? What will it take for a complete evacuation.

Flying Boat
14th May 2003, 02:49
I don't want the western world to morally attack Saudi as it is in a very difficult position.

As a recent ex-expat (7.5years in RUH) I met hundreds of genuinely nice and helpful Saudi people.
In fact Britain would be a better place if it adopted one or two of the basic rules from over there.
No I'm not a Muslim.

However my previous work existence meant I also would meet many of the poorer Saudis & go places where many of the Richer/better paid expats would never go.
This was bubbling well over a year ago, the attack on Iraq gave them the excuse to attack.
I knew of the undercurrent of hate towards 'American Imperialism' was strong but in certain areas it surprised me how deeply it was felt. I was a warden for the British Embassy.

The reported ramming of the doors in Jadawel compound (a beautiful but grossly overpriced location, filled with American top executives) was no surprise as it was a technique used by the Muttawa during the Xmas/New Year period of 1999/2000 to raid where there were suspected parties.

I believe if the Saudi Government wanted to stamp out religeous fanatical terrorism they could, just by stopping the Muttawa & compulsory prayers for all Muslims.

Most normal Arabs want a quiet, normal, peaceful life.
Not religeous fanaticism.

My thoughts & prayers go out to the victims, their families and especially the expats still left in the Kingdom.

Given the chance I will go back to Saudi, one day when it is more calm.


14th May 2003, 03:08
Glad to hear you are OK Pater, I hope none of your friends/associates were involved.

The death toll stands at 91, 7 of whom are Americans. Presumably the majority of the other casualties were Saudi.

One analyst on the radio just said that this was as much an attack on the Saudi government as an attack on Western/American interests. The hatred for the Saudi government within Al-Quaeda is well documented, though it is very possible that someone within the Saudi government was involved in the planning.

This is indeed a grim reminder of the increase in fundamentalist terror and the threat it poses to worldwide security. Unfortunately I don't believe the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq have had any positive impact on reducing the likelihood of such incidents, in fact I suspect the opposite has happened and that these wars will only serve to increase the contempt for the Western way of life among those who believe that Terror is the way to achieve their goals.

The chief weapon in the War on Terror is intelligence. But even with the best intelligence it is impossible to entirely defeat an enemy of this nature, because of their employment of cowardly techniques like these suicide bombings on civilian targets. I think a different approach is required which will require dialogue with terrorists in order to address the root of their contempt. I am not talking only about Al Quaeda, but also about the Real IRA, the PLO, ETA etc.

The War on Terror will not be won through the methods that are currently favoured. It seems that far from being nearly over, the war is just beginning, which is a worrying thought for all of us.

14th May 2003, 03:14
Last nights attacks probably tie in with the shootout between Saudi security forces and a large group of terrorists that took place last week in the Saudi capital. Apparently this was actually the fourth battle in recent weeks the Saudi security forces have fought in Riyadh against terorists. The first three weren't officially reported and after the last attack the Saudis were forced to release names and photos of the 19 who got away, 17 of them Saudi nationals. The police even published an appeal for public help in capturing them.

Saudi intelligence sources have reported that those attacks were an attempt by Al Qaeda to assassinate the Saudi defense minister, Prince Sultan and his brother, Interior Minister Prince Naif, who is also in command of internal security. Other sources reckon the shoot-out in Riyadh on May 7th was the final attempt at an assassination against another leading Saudi figure the day before on May 6th.

Security sources have probably known that Riyadh has been flooded with as many as several hundred al Qaeda operatives over the last few months. They are probably preparing for a fresh offensive against US and Saudi targets. Most likely targets will be oil fields and facilities, airports and aircraft.

The Saudi intelligence services are almost certainly aware of Muslim-Americans, Muslim-Canadians and Saudi army troops who have gone over to al Qaeda. The organisation and operational skills appear to show improvement, especially after last nights attack which was well organised and carried out with military type precision. They had to hit three seperate gated and guarded compunds which were protected behind concrete walls and gates with armed guards.

The terrorists apparently had several small teams strike at different points in each compound. One group probably killing the guards and smashing the gates while another group penetrated the perimiter with high explosives. The reports I have seen indicate that once in, small trucks loaded with cans of petrol and explosives wee used against the buildings, in some cases leveling entire streets. Other reports also indicate that the remaining terrorists then shot any survivors they could find and some witnesses reporting they heard firing going on for up to 10 minutes after the explosions.

The type of bombs used seem to be similar to the one used seven years ago when the Khobar Towers, which were used to house US military personnel, were blown up by fuel/explosive, suicide truck bombs. The fuel/explosive devices cause fierce heat and suction which tears the facade off buildings and appears to be what has happened last night.

14th May 2003, 04:24
Begs the question - just how long does the House of Saud have left? For years they have bought off the extremists with petro-bucks and funded the export of fundamentalist 'Wahabbi' Islam all over the world. It has only bought them time and it seems that may be running out. Those same extremists are coming back to haunt them.
We'd better get that Iraqi oil flowing quickly or we'll all be riding horses... or camels.

14th May 2003, 07:50
Good to see you about Pater. I appreciate you're some distance from Riyadh, but my first reaction on seeing the news last night was "They're going to hit several locations, not just Riyadh"

They still can of course, especialy as in theory Riyadh should be too hot for any other actions for a while. let's hope the Saudi Anti-Terror boys are up to the job......

14th May 2003, 21:49
Hmm, anti-terror is perhaps a slight oxymoron, they are in fact meant to arouse certain feelings in the breasts of the enemy and warm and fuzzy is probably not what they are aspiring to. As to whether they are up to the job, I surely wouldn't want to be aprehended by them. Funnily enough it wasn't so long ago that the Fusileers were here teaching internal security and COIN. Lets hope some of the lessons stuck
I think at the moment, although you are right, they have confined themselves to the capitol. No doubt our turn will come in due time.
Once again Prune 1 I find your posting most interesting, almost oracular in fact, certainly it tied in with what I had heard which was that the published stuff was only the tip of something much bigger. Ahh well as the Chinese often say... and they should know.

15th May 2003, 07:32
Well, isn't this interesting. Why wouldn't the Saudis take/allow action?

The size of the FBI contingent headed to Saudi Arabia to investigate the deadly bombings was scaled back amid concern about Saudi sensitivity to a large U.S. law enforcement presence. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030514/ap_on_re_mi_ea/us_saudi_investigation_6

The United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia said today that the United States sought unsuccessfully to persuade the Saudi government to tighten security around residential compounds in Riyadh before Monday night's attacks. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nyt/20030514/ts_nyt/u_s__envoy_says_saudis_failed_to_respond_to_security_pleas

15th May 2003, 21:06
Anyone care to hazard a guess at the chances of a popular revolt? One would expect a regime such as Saudi Arabia's to be able keep a grip on such things, any sign of weakness or an inability to control events within their own borders and it starts to look like a slippery slope for all concerned.

Conky Joe
16th May 2003, 21:10

Are you staying put in Jeddah for the time being? We have friends from our four years there that are sitting tight for now, although considerably more nervous than after 9/11. Was very sad to go exit only in Dec 01 but the business plan called for Arabisation - a case of doing a good job to have no job :confused: Ah well ...


A revolt has been on the cards for years and there have been several eruptions around the country which have gone largely unreported. Some have made the press, those involved labelled lunatic radicals with no fixed agenda - one which was almost amusing was reported as 'the arrest of a band of people practising black magic' - think this was in Jizan, in the southern part of the country, can't remember. It's a different kind of Harry Potter that holds people hostage, blows up cars and fires an automatic weapon!

A few gun battles in Jeddah were reported while we were living there but again, these were put down to your regular teenage rebel shooting up a rival gang ... who knows.

As long as the military remain loyal a popular revolt will be kept in check. The familiar sight of the fat policeman sleeping at his station on Palestine Street or another falling off his motorbike while going round a roundabout is not indicative of the 'secret police' and military who are, apparently, a fearsome bunch.

Best of luck Pater - hope any baddies that venture west are overcome with the Jeddah-ites laid back approach to life and just chill ....


16th May 2003, 21:39
According to the news this morning there is now a credible and imminent threat to American and British interests in Jeddah.

Pater, keep your head down mate.

17th May 2003, 08:03
It is in fact at times like these when the good wishes and concern of others remind me that the Pprune family may well be a farflung and disseperate bunch of individuals but is a community despite all else. I thank you all on behalf of the Saudi Ppruners.
No immediate plans to leave, as I mentioned to Mrs P who is back enjoying the grandp's, there is unfortunately no end of other places facing the exact same problem.
She did unfortunately point out that our upcoming trip back to Kenya was also being threatened by actions emenating from the same bunch of likely lads. It does not predispose me to see them in a good light. In fact the sooner they are taken in for a quiet chat the better, and I don't somehow think it will be tea and biccies.
Yes, CJ the sea I have always felt had a distinctly calming effect on the local population here, a mellowing that was very obvious when one travelled to other parts of the Kingdom.
There are problems here, as there are anywhere else, inequalities and much that needs reform, but this surely is a universal problem. I can certainly say for myself, that I have always been the recipient of nothing but courteous hospitality for the majority of my time here, and no more unpleasant events than I have had in UK Kenya or the US. I also could have just been lucky.
In general there has always been an air of stability and order here, and for the time being Jeddah remains that way. May it continue to remain that way, there is so much turmoil in the world. I have considered myself fortunate to have been here, as they say things change, but then that is life and the way of things.