Attacker detonates bomb in car park of Shia mosque in Dammam, killing four people a week after suicide blast kills 21 at another mosque in east of country
Ian Black Middle East editor Guardian
Friday 29 May 2015 12.02 EDT
In the second attack of its kind in a week, four people have died after a suicide bomber targeted a Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province, fuelling fears of an organised campaign by Islamic Stateto foment sectarian tensions inside the conservative Sunni kingdom.
Reports from Dammam described a car bomb explosion at the entrance to the al-Anoud mosque, despite security measures put in place because of last Friday’s incident near Qatif, in which 21 people were killed and 120 injured in the worst attack in Saudi Arabia in a decade.
Video clips showed men at prayers inside the mosque reacting in alarm when a loud bang was heard. The Saudi Press agency reported that guards had approached the attacker’s car as it was parking and that the driver then detonated the bomb. One of the dead appears to have been the bomber.
The latest attack was quickly claimed by Isis, which said the “blessed martyrdom operation” had been carried out by a “soldier of the caliphate” it named as Abu Jandal al-Jazrawi. General Mansour al-Turki, spokesman for the Saudi interior ministry, said the terrorist was dressed in women’s clothes.
Analysts have described “lone wolf” initiatives encouraged by Isis, though the speed of the claim of responsibility suggested planning and coordination. Isis has been paying special attention to Saudi Arabia since a speech by its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, excoriating the royal family as the “head of the snake and stronghold of disease”.
Saudi Arabia’s special status in the Arab and Muslim worlds rests on its custodianship of the two holy mosques of Mecca and Medina.
The latest bombing, like last week’s, was also followed by an Isis statement referring to “Wilayat Nejd”. Wilaya is the Arabic term for province. Nejd is the desert heartland of the Saudi kingdom that was first created in the 18th century – as distinct from the Hejaz – the country’s more liberal region along the Red Sea. It also used sectarian language to vilify Shia Muslims – who make up 15% of the Saudi population.
The Saudi government has responded to the bombings with expressions of concern and pledges of severe punishment for the perpetrators. Earlier this week the recently appointed Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef visited the al-Qudaih mosque in Qatif where hundreds of thousands of people turned out for the funerals of the victims. Unusually, Bin Nayef was publicly criticised by a resident who challenged him to put an end to sectarianism. “If you do not do your part … then you are a silent partner in this crime,” the man told the prince. The video showing the encounter was viewed more than 800,000 times in less than 24 hours.
Saudi authorities have jailed two prominent Shia clerics who have called for reforms such as adopting a constitutional monarchy. Last year one leading cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, was sentenced to death for leading protests in Qatif.
In the past few days liberal Saudis have called for an end to sectarian messages in education, the religious establishment and the media – and for a crackdown on extremist Sunni preachers blamed for anti-Shia incitement, often on private TV channels.
“The perpetrators of these murderous acts are driven by an insane ideology disseminated by self-appointed clerics and reformers,” commented the Jeddah-based writer Khaled Al-Maeena. “For too long, we have kept quiet as they used the mosques, the media and other forms of communication to spread their evil philosophy. We … watched silently as some imams spewed hatred and spread falsehood about Muslims of other sects. These illiterate bigots should have been advised to shut up. We should not have remained silent and passive allowing their hatred to continue giving them the opportunity to manipulate the minds of many.”
Less progressive Saudi voices have objected to sectarianism on the grounds that it is used by “Safavid (Iranian)-Zionist-Crusader alliance” against the kingdom, in the words of Abdulaziz Fawzan, an influential sheikh.
The Saudi government and many citizens blame Iran, the kingdom’s strategic rival, for backing the Shia-led government in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Bashar al-Assad in Syria and most recently the Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen, where the Saudis are leading a bombing campaign in an attempt to restore And Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government.
The Saudis are also taking part in a US-led bombing campaign against Isis and rebuff criticism that they were responsible for the creation of the group because of previous backing for hardline Islamist factions fighting Assad. Riyadh now works more closely with its allies in Qatar and Turkey in supporting anti-Assad factions. Still, with an estimated 2,500 Saudi citizens having gone to fight in Syria or Iraq in recent years, an official crackdown in recent months may have meant that more Isis supporters are staying at home – and are prepared to act.
Toby Matthiesen, a Saudi Arabia expert at Cambridge University, said: “Saudi Arabia may now have to choose between anti-Shia [sentiment] as a political tool at home and abroad and the very real threat that extremists taking anti-Shia [sentiment] too seriously will bring the fight back home – with unpredictable consequences for the stability of Saudi Arabia and the wider region.”
How far is Saudi Arabia complicit in the Isis takeover of much of northern Iraq, and is it stoking an escalating Sunni-Shia conflict across the Islamic world? Some time before 9/11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: "The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally 'God help the Shia'. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”ReplyDelete
The fatal moment predicted by Prince Bandar may now have come for many Shia, with Saudi Arabia playing an important role in bringing it about by supporting the anti-Shia jihad in Iraq and Syria. Since the capture of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) on 10 June, Shia women and children have been killed in villages south of Kirkuk, and Shia air force cadets machine-gunned and buried in mass graves near Tikrit.
In Mosul, Shia shrines and mosques have been blown up, and in the nearby Shia Turkoman city of Tal Afar 4,000 houses have been taken over by Isis fighters as "spoils of war". Simply to be identified as Shia or a related sect, such as the Alawites, in Sunni rebel-held parts of Iraq and Syria today, has become as dangerous as being a Jew was in Nazi-controlled parts of Europe in 1940.
There is no doubt about the accuracy of the quote by Prince Bandar, secretary-general of the Saudi National Security Council from 2005 and head of General Intelligence between 2012 and 2014, the crucial two years when al-Qa'ida-type jihadis took over the Sunni-armed opposition in Iraq and Syria. Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute last week, Dearlove, who headed MI6 from 1999 to 2004, emphasised the significance of Prince Bandar's words, saying that they constituted "a chilling comment that I remember very well indeed".
He does not doubt that substantial and sustained funding from private donors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to which the authorities may have turned a blind eye, has played a central role in the Isis surge into Sunni areas of Iraq. He said: "Such things simply do not happen spontaneously." This sounds realistic since the tribal and communal leadership in Sunni majority provinces is much beholden to Saudi and Gulf paymasters, and would be unlikely to cooperate with Isis without their consent.
Dearlove's explosive revelation about the prediction of a day of reckoning for the Shia by Prince Bandar, and the former head of MI6's view that Saudi Arabia is involved in the Isis-led Sunni rebellion, has attracted surprisingly little attention. Coverage of Dearlove's speech focused instead on his main theme that the threat from Isis to the West is being exaggerated because, unlike Bin Laden's al-Qa'ida, it is absorbed in a new conflict that "is essentially Muslim on Muslim". Unfortunately, Christians in areas captured by Isis are finding this is not true, as their churches are desecrated and they are forced to flee. A difference between al-Qa'ida and Isis is that the latter is much better organised; if it does attack Western targets the results are likely to be devastating.
The forecast by Prince Bandar, who was at the heart of Saudi security policy for more than three decades, that the 100 million Shia in the Middle East face disaster at the hands of the Sunni majority, will convince many Shia that they are the victims of a Saudi-led campaign to crush them. "The Shia in general are getting very frightened after what happened in northern Iraq," said an Iraqi commentator, who did not want his name published. Shia see the threat as not only military but stemming from the expanded influence over mainstream Sunni Islam of Wahhabism, the puritanical and intolerant version of Islam espoused by Saudi Arabia that condemns Shia and other Islamic sects as non-Muslim apostates and polytheists.
Dearlove says that he has no inside knowledge obtained since he retired as head of MI6 10 years ago to become Master of Pembroke College in Cambridge. But, drawing on past experience, he sees Saudi strategic thinking as being shaped by two deep-seated beliefs or attitudes. First, they are convinced that there "can be no legitimate or admissible challenge to the Islamic purity of their Wahhabi credentials as guardians of Islam's holiest shrines". But, perhaps more significantly given the deepening Sunni-Shia confrontation, the Saudi belief that they possess a monopoly of Islamic truth leads them to be "deeply attracted towards any militancy which can effectively challenge Shia-dom".
Western governments traditionally play down the connection between Saudi Arabia and its Wahhabist faith, on the one hand, and jihadism, whether of the variety espoused by Osama bin Laden and al-Qa'ida or by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's Isis. There is nothing conspiratorial or secret about these links: 15 out of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, as was Bin Laden and most of the private donors who funded the operation.
The difference between al-Qa'ida and Isis can be overstated: when Bin Laden was killed by United States forces in 2011, al-Baghdadi released a statement eulogising him, and Isis pledged to launch 100 attacks in revenge for his death.
But there has always been a second theme to Saudi policy towards al-Qa'ida type jihadis, contradicting Prince Bandar's approach and seeing jihadis as a mortal threat to the Kingdom. Dearlove illustrates this attitude by relating how, soon after 9/11, he visited the Saudi capital Riyadh with Tony Blair.
He remembers the then head of Saudi General Intelligence "literally shouting at me across his office: '9/11 is a mere pinprick on the West. In the medium term, it is nothing more than a series of personal tragedies. What these terrorists want is to destroy the House of Saud and remake the Middle East.'" In the event, Saudi Arabia adopted both policies, encouraging the jihadis as a useful tool of Saudi anti-Shia influence abroad but suppressing them at home as a threat to the status quo. It is this dual policy that has fallen apart over the last year.
Saudi sympathy for anti-Shia "militancy" is identified in leaked US official documents. The then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote in December 2009 in a cable released by Wikileaks that "Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qa'ida, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan] and other terrorist groups." She said that, in so far as Saudi Arabia did act against al-Qa'ida, it was as a domestic threat and not because of its activities abroad. This policy may now be changing with the dismissal of Prince Bandar as head of intelligence this year. But the change is very recent, still ambivalent and may be too late: it was only last week that a Saudi prince said he would no longer fund a satellite television station notorious for its anti-Shia bias based in Egypt.
The problem for the Saudis is that their attempts since Bandar lost his job to create an anti-Maliki and anti-Assad Sunni constituency which is simultaneously against al-Qa'ida and its clones have failed.
By seeking to weaken Maliki and Assad in the interest of a more moderate Sunni faction, Saudi Arabia and its allies are in practice playing into the hands of Isis which is swiftly gaining full control of the Sunni opposition in Syria and Iraq. In Mosul, as happened previously in its Syrian capital Raqqa, potential critics and opponents are disarmed, forced to swear allegiance to the new caliphate and killed if they resist.
The West may have to pay a price for its alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, which have always found Sunni jihadism more attractive than democracy. A striking example of double standards by the western powers was the Saudi-backed suppression of peaceful democratic protests by the Shia majority in Bahrain in March 2011. Some 1,500 Saudi troops were sent across the causeway to the island kingdom as the demonstrations were ended with great brutality and Shia mosques and shrines were destroyed.
An alibi used by the US and Britain is that the Sunni al-Khalifa royal family in Bahrain is pursuing dialogue and reform. But this excuse looked thin last week as Bahrain expelled a top US diplomat, the assistant secretary of state for human rights Tom Malinowksi, for meeting leaders of the main Shia opposition party al-Wifaq. Mr Malinowski tweeted that the Bahrain government’s action was "not about me but about undermining dialogue".
Western powers and their regional allies have largely escaped criticism for their role in reigniting the war in Iraq. Publicly and privately, they have blamed the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for persecuting and marginalising the Sunni minority, so provoking them into supporting the Isis-led revolt. There is much truth in this, but it is by no means the whole story. Maliki did enough to enrage the Sunni, partly because he wanted to frighten Shia voters into supporting him in the 30 April election by claiming to be the Shia community's protector against Sunni counter-revolution.
But for all his gargantuan mistakes, Maliki's failings are not the reason why the Iraqi state is disintegrating. What destabilised Iraq from 2011 on was the revolt of the Sunni in Syria and the takeover of that revolt by jihadis, who were often sponsored by donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates. Again and again Iraqi politicians warned that by not seeking to close down the civil war in Syria, Western leaders were making it inevitable that the conflict in Iraq would restart. "I guess they just didn't believe us and were fixated on getting rid of [President Bashar al-] Assad," said an Iraqi leader in Baghdad last week.
Of course, US and British politicians and diplomats would argue that they were in no position to bring an end to the Syrian conflict. But this is misleading. By insisting that peace negotiations must be about the departure of Assad from power, something that was never going to happen since Assad held most of the cities in the country and his troops were advancing, the US and Britain made sure the war would continue.
The chief beneficiary is Isis which over the last two weeks has been mopping up the last opposition to its rule in eastern Syria. The Kurds in the north and the official al-Qa'ida representative, Jabhat al-Nusra, are faltering under the impact of Isis forces high in morale and using tanks and artillery captured from the Iraqi army. It is also, without the rest of the world taking notice, taking over many of the Syrian oil wells that it did not already control.
Saudi Arabia has created a Frankenstein’s monster over which it is rapidly losing control.
The same is true of its allies such as Turkey which has been a vital back-base for Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra by keeping the 510-mile-long Turkish-Syrian border open. As Kurdish-held border crossings fall to Isis, Turkey will find it has a new neighbour of extraordinary violence, and one deeply ungrateful for past favours from the Turkish intelligence service.
As for Saudi Arabia, it may come to regret its support for the Sunni revolts in Syria and Iraq as jihadi social media begins to speak of the House of Saud as its next target. It is the unnamed head of Saudi General Intelligence quoted by Dearlove after 9/11 who is turning out to have analysed the potential threat to Saudi Arabia correctly and not Prince Bandar, which may explain why the latter was sacked earlier this year.
Nor is this the only point on which Prince Bandar was dangerously mistaken. The rise of Isis is bad news for the Shia of Iraq but it is worse news for the Sunni whose leadership has been ceded to a pathologically bloodthirsty and intolerant movement, a sort of Islamic Khmer Rouge, which has no aim but war without end.
The Sunni caliphate rules a large, impoverished and isolated area from which people are fleeing. Several million Sunni in and around Baghdad are vulnerable to attack and 255 Sunni prisoners have already been massacred. In the long term, Isis cannot win, but its mix of fanaticism and good organisation makes it difficult to dislodge
”God help the Shia,” said Prince Bandar, but, partly thanks to him, the shattered Sunni communities of Iraq and Syria may need divine help even more than the Shia.Delete
Deuce ☂Fri May 29, 06:50:00 PM EDTDelete
How far is Saudi Arabia complicit in the Isis takeover of much of northern Iraq, and is it stoking an escalating Sunni-Shia conflict across the Islamic world?
About equal to the Iranian takeover of Southern Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. :)
What do you expect from a high school wrestling coach?ReplyDelete
J. Dennis Hastert, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, was paying a man to not say publicly that Mr. Hastert had sexually abused him decades ago, according to two people briefed on the evidence uncovered in an F.B.I. investigation into the payments.
Really, what normal man would want to do clammy sweaty take downs, holds and reversals with teenage boys?ReplyDelete
So much for the presumption of innocence until proven guilty...Delete
Oh wait, he was a GOP Speaker AND a ZIONIST...
Now about your question SHALL we ask Barney Frank?
He's a ZIONIST too.. But he's a democrat...
As I have said for years....ReplyDelete
The Shits verses the Suns.....
Both hate Jews, Zionists, Judaism, Israel...
Both hate America, liberty, freedom and American exceptionalism.
So really, now that they are killing each other?
They have less ability to kill me.
TO that I say?
What Palestinian, Iraqi, Syrian, Iranian or Libyan in his right mind, would not hate Jews, Zionists, Judaism, Israel, America, liberty, and “American Exceptionalism”?Delete
Sometime you will have to explain to us how seven million Israelis will win a religious war of attrition with 1.3 billion Muslims? I can just picture the IDF fighting ISIS. Will they be more like the Kurds or the Iraqi Army?Delete
In Lebanon against Hezbollah, Israel launched 7,000 air strikes against that country and Israeli naval vessels launched 2,500 artillery shells and rockets. Israel did not restrict its actions to Hezbollah but launched air strikes against the Lebanese army. Israel also launched attacks close to the border with Syria. Israel killed over 1,000 civilians, destroyed 30,000 homes, 120 bridges, 94 roads, 24 fuel stations (causing a shortage of supply) and 900 businesses.Delete
Who in Lebanon could not love the Jews, Zionists, Judaism and Israel?
Love the question.Delete
I wonder who in Lebanon loves Hezbollah?
But the better question is?Delete
Have the palestinians, the lebanese, the iraqis and the syrians learned the lesson and stopped trying to murder Jews?
If you don't try to murder us? We won't fuck you up...
If you do try to murder us? You will lose and get fucked up...
So better you should hate us and leave us be, cause if you can't?
You will be fucked up...
God help us; these crazy religious assholes are going to be the death of us all.ReplyDelete
All the cults are followers of Abraham.Delete
A contest between the cults obsessed with cutting the human genital of newborn girls and boys.Delete
Deuce your lack of differentiation for the Jewish ritual of removing the foreskin as compared to the Moslem and african practice of removing the clit and stitching up the vagina is telling....Delete
The Jewish ritual, has positive health attributes.
Funny how you are so judgmental about topics you lack any insight on...
God told Abraham, famous for being ready to hack to death his son because God made him, also heard God tell him to circumcise himself and Abraham got so into it he ran around cutting and dick hacking his family and then his slaves. This charmer is the inspiration for the entire lot of religious fanatics that are in the daily love fest for their God.Delete
Is doesn’t take a whole lot of insight to question the irrational practice of adult human beings cutting infant genetillia to symbolize their covenant with God as it came down from Abraham, who would be institutionalized today. I believe some rabbis do it with their teeth and have given babies herpes.Delete
Deuce ☂Fri May 29, 10:18:00 PM EDTReplyDelete
In Lebanon against Hezbollah, Israel launched 7,000 air strikes against that country and Israeli naval vessels launched 2,500 artillery shells and rockets. Israel did not restrict its actions to Hezbollah but launched air strikes against the Lebanese army. Israel also launched attacks close to the border with Syria. Israel killed over 1,000 civilians, destroyed 30,000 homes, 120 bridges, 94 roads, 24 fuel stations (causing a shortage of supply) and 900 businesses.
Who in Lebanon could not love the Jews, Zionists, Judaism and Israel?
I wonder if Hezbollah didn't USE human shields how many civilians would have perished in the Hezbollah started war?
Deuce ☂Fri May 29, 10:04:00 PM EDTReplyDelete
Sometime you will have to explain to us how seven million Israelis will win a religious war of attrition with 1.3 billion Muslims? I can just picture the IDF fighting ISIS. Will they be more like the Kurds or the Iraqi Army?
I think that can be answered simply...
Allow the shits murder the suns, allow the suns to murder the shits....
1.3 billion moslems who can't produce ONE democratic nation, whose standard of living comes form exporting raw materials.Delete
the arabs? 330 million have failed to destroy Israel, what makes you so cock sure the other 900 million moslems are will to see their nations burn to the ground for the privilege of fucking with Israel?
They can't even stop ISIS...Delete
Don’t crow too loudly about what ISIS would not do to Israel.Delete
The operation [circumcision] consists of three parts: “milah,” “peri'ah," and "mezizah."Delete
Milah: The child having been placed upon a pillow resting upon the lap of the godfather or "sandek" (he who is honored by being assigned to hold the child), the mohel exposes the parts by removal of garments, etc., and instructs the sandek how to hold the child's legs. The mohel then grasps the prepuce between the thumb and index-finger of his left hand, exerting sufficient traction to draw it from the glans, and places the shield (see Fig. 1, next column) in position just before the glans. He now takes his knife and with one sweep excises the foreskin. This completes the first act. The knife (see Fig. 3) most commonly used is double-edged, although one like those ordinarily used by surgeons is also often employed.
Peri'ah: After the excision has been completed, the mohel seizes the inner lining of the prepuce, which still covers the glans, with the thumb-nail and index-finger of each hand, and tears it so that he can roll it fully back over the glans and expose the latter completely. The mohel usually has his thumb-nail suitably trimmed for the purpose. In exceptional cases the inner lining of the prepuce is more or less extensively adherent to the glans, which interferes somewhat with the ready removal; but persistent effort will overcome the difficulty.
Mezizah: By this is meant the sucking of the blood from the wound. The mohel takes some wine in his mouth and applies his lips to the part involved in the operation, and exerts suction, after which he expels the mixture of wine and blood into a receptacle (see Fig. 4, below) provided for the purpose. This procedure is repeated several times, and completes the operation, except as to the control of the bleeding and the dressing of the wound.
They did it for hygiene.Delete
You call it a ritual.Delete
I call it barbarism.ReplyDelete
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.Delete
Deuce ☂Fri May 29, 10:43:00 PM EDTReplyDelete
Don’t crow too loudly about what ISIS would not do to Israel.
ISIS is the same as Hamas.
And Hamas is the Moslem Brotherhood.
And the PA? Well they are the butchers of Munich.
Deuce: I believe some rabbis do it with their teeth and have given babies herpes.ReplyDelete
I believe you are insane.
Deuce ☂Fri May 29, 10:34:00 PM EDTReplyDelete
God told Abraham, famous for being ready to hack to death his son because God made him, also heard God tell him to circumcise himself and Abraham got so into it he ran around cutting and dick hacking his family and then his slaves. This charmer is the inspiration for the entire lot of religious fanatics that are in the daily love fest for their God.
Deuce ☂Fri May 29, 10:42:00 PM EDT
Is doesn’t take a whole lot of insight to question the irrational practice of adult human beings cutting infant genetillia to symbolize their covenant with God as it came down from Abraham, who would be institutionalized today. I believe some rabbis do it with their teeth and have given babies herpes.
You side with the arabs!!!!
question el deucy...
Do you put up a christmas tree? Do you celebrate easter with the grand kids?
No and No. I do not celebrate religious holidays.Delete
I do not side with the Arabs. I do not side with the Israelis.
I think the religions on both sides are mutually loathsome.
You can believe your religious crap. Your cult is no better or worse than any other.
You were no more chosen by some mythical god than Santa Claus flies down from the North Pole.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.Delete
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.Delete
Arabs have been butchering Jews long before Mohammed.ReplyDelete
But the real stink of the matter is that after quite a long time of arab slaughter, rape and robbery, Israel was liberated.
Not under the dirty shoe of the arabs anymore and they can't stand that...
that's the issue in a nut shell
The Jews are not Dhimmis anymore..
We will not take shit from the bastard offspring of Abraham. Period.
Pisses you off about Israel, every ask yourself WHY did the arabs drive 700,000 Jews INTO Israel from the arab occupied middle east?
Think about it..
More jews were driven from their homes in the arab world INTO Israel by the arabs than arabs driven out of Israel by the Jews...
I provided the link. Here are more:ReplyDelete
you said: What is "Occupation"Fri May 29, 11:42:00 PM EDTDelete
Deuce: I believe some rabbis do it with their teeth and have given babies herpes.
No Rabbi gives a Bris with their teeth.
The Herpes issue has happened and it is not part of the ritual.
We know all about how tough the Jews are these days. We saw last summer.ReplyDelete