THE enemy is not at our door; it is right inside our homelands, plotting to spill our blood and pit Muslim against Muslim with the aim of occupying our cities. There is nowhere 100 per cent safe because this will to kill is more infectious than Ebola and much harder to detect. There is no brain scan or blood work or DNA test able to predict evil intent.
In recent weeks, Istanbul, Baghdad and Dhaka have been victims of this virulent hate-laced pandemic that has so cruelly ripped the life out of hundreds of innocent travellers, diners and shoppers. These were all politically-motivated terrorist acts carried out under the false banner of religion designed to strike fear in the hearts of populations in the hope they would turn against their governments.
I am always deeply saddened by such incidents, but never more when hearing the terrible news on Monday that our Islamic holy sites have now become targets. Words cannot express my horror and outrage that Muslims (if that is what they deserve to be called) would attempt to eviscerate mosques, especially Islam’s second holiest site in Madinah, the resting place of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
This single act, which, if it had succeeded, would have sent the entire Muslim world into inconsolable mourning and fury, raises questions when no terrorist group has so far claimed responsibility.
I doubt that any will since attacks on Islam will hardly assist terrorist recruiting drives. How many impressionable young Muslim men would be open to being groomed on the internet or likely to be radicalized if they were contacted by a member of an organization out to destroy the Prophet’s burial place!
We do know that Abdullah Khan, a 34 year old Pakistani driver, was the suicide bomber who blew himself up close to the US consulate in the port city of Jeddah. The identities of the other two are, as yet, not known. But I suspect these murderers were mere idiot foot soldiers — and it may be they permitted their strings to be pulled in return for cash payments to their families.
All three attacks were coordinated in the style of al-Qaeda and its offshoot the so-called Islamic State, but unlike their usual operations, these would be viewed as failures from their perspectives. In all instances, the suicide belts were exploded outside the apparently targeted buildings and the death count from all three is lower than we have witnessed in the past.
No one died in Jeddah, apart from Khan. Two were killed by the explosion outside a mosque in Qatif and four security guards died in the parking lot close to the Prophet’s Mosque. Are we, therefore, to believe that the merchants of terror who have killed tens of thousands in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, Paris and Belgium have lost the plot? I do not think so.
Media fingers may be pointing towards the Islamic State as the likely perpetrator of these heinous crimes and, indeed, it does consider the Kingdom as an enemy. But for the “Islamic State” to explode the Prophet’s Mosque would be a contradiction in terms. It would be obliged to consider a name change.
I smell a false flag operation here. DAESH is far from being Saudi’s only foe. There is another and it, too, has ambitions to dominate the region and to become the guardian of the Holy Sites in Makkah and Madinah.
This is a wealthy rogue state whose leadership is working to advance the Day of Judgment as evidenced by the videos it disseminates to that effect. Its relationship with the Kingdom has been seriously strained in recent times and it has made no secret of its wish to see the ruling family overthrown. Neither it nor its armed emissaries can take responsibility, however, because doing so would incur repercussions from its Western allies and risk an all-out war with neighbouring states.
The associates and family of Abdullah Khan will certainly be interrogated, as will those of the other two suicide bombers once their identities have been established. But I am betting since the three were considered expendables by their masters the investigations will not bear fruit. If a state is behind this, then it would have put its plan into effect using a complex chain of intermediaries acting from within isolated cells.
CNN’s national security analyst Peter Bergen says the attack on the mosque in Madinah was meant to be an embarrassment for the “protectors of the two holy places (Makkah and Madinah).” He is also veering towards DAESH as being culpable, but I found it interesting that he characterized the suicide attack at a revered Muslim location in Madinah during Ramadan as “counterproductive” and “senseless” and which would be met with “strong condemnation and puzzlement” by Muslims. “Puzzlement” is the operative word here.
The experts can ponder on ISIS as much as they like, but unless the group begins boasting about it, as they usually do whether on social media or in their magazine, I am not buying it. I do not have the answers either but I would urge investigating authorities not to jump to conclusions but rather to look closely at all options. Consider who stands to benefit from destabilizing Saudi Arabia!
Evaluate the motives and capabilities of all those groups and states out to harm the Kingdom and follow the money. No devout Muslim would have consented to bomb Islam’s second holiest site, so there is likely to be a paperless hawala cash trail.
This aggression on Madinah should be seen as loud wake-up call for all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states. An attack on Saudi is an attack on us all. We must untie our hands to fight fire with fire. We must move from defence into attack mode and acknowledge that we are not only facing a threat to our very existence but must be prepared to defend our faith from the heartless and the soulless.
What if, God forbid, their next target is the Holy Kaaba! No self-recriminations or tears will wash away our regrets at not taking pre-emptive action and we will deserve blame from coming generations until the end of time.
By Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor