Flash! A senior al-Qaeda commander with ties to both Pakistan and Iraq was captured four months ago by the CIA and the secret was kept until now from the newspapers. Bill Roggio has details. The Washington Post devotes the bulk of its coverage to questioning when Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi was captured, raising questions about the timing of the announcement and the prisoner's value. But the Post has a point: has the CIA suddenly becoming better at capturing terrorists or more skilled at keeping the secret from the media? Which development should be feared the more?
Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia, authorities have arrested 172 people involved in planning a 9/11-style attack on the Kingdom's oil refineries. The AP reports:
Saudi Arabia announced Friday that an anti-terrorism sweep netted 172 Islamic militants, including some who trained abroad as pilots to fly attacks on the kingdom's oil refineries and others planning suicide assaults on officials and the military. ...
The Interior Ministry said the plotters were organized into seven cells and planned to stage suicide attacks on "public figures, oil facilities, refineries ... and military zones," including some outside the kingdom. It did not identify any of the targets. The militants also planned to storm Saudi prisons to free jailed militants, the ministry's statement said.
In the cultural context of the War on Terror it is ironic that some in the public delighted over the Saudi security forces' victory over the terrorists are also regretting they did not succeed. For the Kingdom, apart from being one of America's best "friends" in the Middle East is also the principal banker of its enemies. Saudi oil production encapsulates one of the central dilemmas in the current world crisis: it is a two-edged sword. The happiness one feels at being able to fill up the tank at the service station is followed by the immediate guilt of knowing that you have probably contributed in some indirect way to funding your own destruction.
If it is any consolation, the Islamic militants are in worse case. Their dilemmas are more acute than ours. One the one hand, they hate the West but need its technology to effectively prosecute their terror. They threaten Internet cafes and but communicate through them. They despise its Press, but can find no better ally. They desire to destroy the oil facilities of the corrupt and degenerate House of Saud and strangle the infidel who depends on petroleum, yet need the oil wealth to fuel their Jihad.
Who said life was easy? But in any case, have a good weekend, everybody.