- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Saudi eyes and ears

The Saudi ambassador yesterday credited the “Saudi people” for the improved intelligence that led to the killing of top al Qaeda terrorists in Saudi Arabia.

Ambassador Prince Turki al-Faisal said tips from Saudi subjects helped security forces foil an attempt to blow up a major oil facility Feb. 24 and led authorities Tuesday to a safe house where five terrorists were hiding in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. They included the leader of the al Qaeda operation in Saudi Arabia.

“The ability of Saudi security to foil the terrorists’ attack then quickly track down and confront those responsible speaks clearly to the level of improved intelligence gathering, training and experience our forces have acquired,” he said.

“In the intelligence area alone, we have seen great gains thanks to the Saudi people, who are galvanized against terrorism and continue to provide us with many leads.”

The Saudi Embassy yesterday released the identities of the terrorists and said many were on a list of 36 most-wanted Saudi terrorists. The list included three of the five killed at the safe house: Fahd Faraaj al-Juwair, leader of the Saudi branch of al Qaeda and No. 2 on the list; Ibrahim Abdullah Ibrahim al-Mutair, No. 11; and Abdullah Muhia Shlash al-Sulaiti al-Shamari, No. 15. The fourth man killed at the safe house, Jaffal Rafea al-Shamari, was not on the list. The fifth man has not been identified.

The embassy said two other terrorists — Mohammed al-Ghaith, No. 8 on the list, and Abdullah al-Tuwaijri, No. 9 — were killed in the attempt to destroy the Abqaia oil facility.

Pakistan grateful

When President Bush visits Pakistan on Saturday, he will find a country still struggling to recover from the October earthquake that killed more than 80,000 and left 3.3 million homeless.

Pakistani Ambassador Jehangir Karamat said much of the earthquake assistance came from Pakistani-Americans.

“I am particularly proud of our community here, Pakistanis in the United States, who have given and continue to give generous support,” he wrote in an open letter to Pakistani-Americans on the Pakistani Embassy’s Web site [www.embassyofpakistan.org].

“Community members from across the country have stepped forward to bring relief to their homeland by donating from their own pockets, organizing successful fundraisers, mobilizing communities of activists and, for some, even traveling to Pakistan to volunteer on the ground.

“Never before have we seen such strength or compassion within our community.”

Iran’s calculation

Iran’s brutal theocratic regime is taking advantage of democratic elections throughout the Middle East by supporting pro-Iranian candidates and advancing its own “very calculated expansionism,” the son of the deposed shah of Iran said yesterday.

Reza Pahlavi, now a Maryland resident, urged the United States and Western powers to support the “thousand circles of localized dissent and opposition that readily exist in Iran but which desperately need to link with one another and the outside world.”

He warned against any military action because an invasion would rally nationalist sentiment and play into the hands of the regime.

Mr. Pahlavi said Iran also is financing parties such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories to further its own interests.

“As long as the Islamic republic is in power, the project for democracy in the greater Middle East may actually pave the way for Iran’s own calculated expansionism,” he said. “When Iran’s proteges are offered the necessary money, information and support, along with the tools of intimidation and violence, they will always find the upper hand against their rivals in any such nascent democracies.”

Mr. Pahlavi’s father, the autocratic Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was deposed in the 1979 revolution that brought the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to power.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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