The Nosy Neighbour Manuel Almeida
Juhaymanâ€™s Sins Khaled Mushawah
Dangerous Liaisons Richard Weitz
The End Of Jihad 30 Years After the Siege of Mecca By Prof. Jean-Pierre Filiu
Issue 1533, 20 November 2009
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to The Majalla Digital, this week our W elcome issue brings to you an analysis of the siege
of Mecca, and how this event is a starting point of analysis for the evolution of jihad as a political movement. We have invited Professor awardwinning author Jean Pierre Filiu of the Institute of Political Science in Paris to evaluate the role of jihad over the last 30 years. Filiu illustrates how modern attempts of jihad are demonstrative of a crisis within Al-Qaida. More importantly, he highlights the inevitable failure of this tactic to promote global revolution. To complement Professor Filiu’s feature, we have invited three intellectuals with expertise on Saudi Society to address the question of how Juhaymen’s siege of Mecca impacted Saudi Arabia. Dr. Ali bin Hamad Alkhchiban and Khaled Abdullah AlMushawa provide an insightful answers to this question. We invite you to read these articles and much more on our website at Majalla.com/en. As always, we welcome and value our reader’s feedback and we invite you to take the opportunity to leave your comments or contact us if you are interested in writing for our publication. Sincerely,
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The debated presence of Iran in Yemen’s conflict
There is growing concern that the conflict in Yemen is again becoming a battle ground between Middle Eastern countries fighting for hegemony in the region. However, the precise degree of external involvement in unclear, with Yemeni authorities claiming that Iran has strong affiliations with the rebels. Would Tehran, really benefit from such ties, even if it put its own interests in jeopardy?
he escalating fighting in Yemen between government forces and the al-Houthi rebels has reawakened concern that Yemen is again becoming a battleground between leading Middle Eastern countries fighting for regional primacy. Whereas during the 1960s the main contestants were Nasser’s Soviet-aligned Egypt and the Westernleaning monarchy of Saudi Arabia, today the external contestants appear to be revolutionary Shiite Iran and a Sunni coalition led once again by Riyadh. The Houthis consist of Zaidis, a Shiite sect based primarily in the northern Yemeni provinces of Saada and Amran. Only a small minority of Zaidis support the Houthi uprising. They oppose the central government, led by President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is also a Zaid. They claim the Saleh government has neglected their interests as well as those of other national minorities. They also criticize the government’s alleged corruption and fault the Saleh administration for its close ties to the United States and supposed susceptibility to Wahhabi influence. Since 2004, the government has launched half a dozen military operations against the Houthi rebels, but these have failed to suppress the insurgency. Saleh remains committed to defeating the rebels on the battlefield, declaring on November 7 that, “The war will never stop no matter how much money or martyrs it costs.” The government’s difficulties are partly due to the mountainous terrain, which favors the guerrillas, but suspicions have grown that the rebels also are receiving extensive foreign support. The precise degree of external involvement in the Houthi conflict is unclear. Yemini officials have repeatedly accused groups in Iran, sometimes identified as affiliated with the Iranian government, of providing arms, funding, training, media, and other support. Last month, Yemeni authorities announced that that they had captured an Iranian ship that was smuggling arms to Houthi fighters. The Yemeni government cancelled a planned visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in protest. The Yemini media has also related claims that Eritrea is providing a safe haven for the insurgents, allowing Iranian Revolutionary Guards to train and 20 November, 2009
Richard Weitz equip them, and permitting weapons to flow from Iran through the Eritrean port of Asab to the Yemeni port of Maydi. Some Saudi sources have made the same allegations. Most recently, they reported that the Houthi rebels attacked Saudi border posts along the joint Saudi-Yemeni frontier near Mount Dokhan, raising fears that the group aspires to become a transnational regional actor like Hezbollah. In response, the Saudi government has provided Yemeni authorities with military and non-military assistance. Other Gulf Cooperation Council members, Egypt, and Jordan also worry about a possible Iranian link to the Houthi insurgency and feared Iranian desires to establish a sphereof-influence in the Red Sea centered on the Eritrean coast and north Yemen. Iranian officials formally deny providing any support for the Houthi fighters. In public, they insist that they strongly support Yemen’s territorial integrity and want to sustain good relations with Yemen. They have offered to help mediate a truce. Off the record, they blame the Yemeni government for inciting the Houthis to take up arms by mistreating them. Independent analysts remain sharply divided over how much support groups in Iran actually provide the rebels. Iranian sympathies for the rebels are evident, but concrete proof that the Iranian government is seeking to subvert the Yemeni state by providing a sustained and major campaign of assistance to the insurgents is lacking. In Washington, the Houthis, whatever their link to Tehran, are seen as a much lesser threat than al-Qaeda, which has been seeking to establish a major presence in Yemen to compensate for recent setbacks in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other countries. The fear is that the Yemeni government
will become so preoccupied with defeating the Houthi insurgents that “alQaeda in the Arabian Peninsula”—which combines the terrorist cells in Yemen and Saudi Arabia—will be able to expand its presence. U.S. policy makers are therefore considering providing additional military assistance to allow Yemini authorities to refocus their attention against alQaeda. There are also proposals for the United States, the EU, Saudi Arabia, and other countries to adopt a targeted aid package for northern Yemen aimed at alleviating popular grievances there. Another complication is that the secessionist movement in southern Yemen also has become more active. There is no obvious coordination between the Houthis, al-Qaeda, or the Southern Movement, but observers worry whether the fragile Yemeni state can manage three escalating insurgencies simultaneously. Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world. One third of its working age population is unemployed. Illiteracy and other social problems are widespread. Much commerce revolves around the sale of arms and Qat, a mild narcotic. Although Yemen is the first formal multiparty democracy in the Persian Gulf, the political system remains fractured by tribal and other sub-national loyalties. The country’s declining oil production is depriving the central government of the resources it needs to buy the loyalty of important regional power brokers and fund the public service programs that many impoverished Yemenis depend on in the absence of sufficient private sector jobs. The failure of the Yemeni state could spread Somali-like anarchy further north, leading to a rise in piracy, crime, and terrorism throughout the Red Sea region. Although some in Tehran might welcome the demise of the Saleh regime, would Iran really be better off if its oil exports were threatened by even more pirates and if al-Qaeda, many of whose leaders consider Iranian Shiism a form of apostasy, established a base of operations in a country so close to Iran?
Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute- Washington DC. 08
In Brief Around The World
Quotes Of The Week
Magazine Round Up
It’s not just a game The football World Cup, held every four years, attracts millions of people from all corners of the globe and it is the world’s most popular sport event. Some World Cup matches became famous for reasons that go far beyond sport. England versus Argentina in 1986 World Cup in Mexico, after the Falklans War between both countries, or United States versus Iran in 1998 World Cup in France, are two examples of matches that received plenty of attention for the political symbolism of the occasion. Last Saturday, Egypt and Algeria’s national teams faced each other for a place in South Africa, where the next World Cup will be held in 2010. Both national teams have a history of rivalry that dates 20 November, 2009
back to 1989 in Italy. Algeria got its payback in 2001, when it prevented Egypt going to 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan. The ingredients were there for a tense game, but nothing could predict the daunting proportions it got to.
The final match was played last Wednesday evening at Omdurman stadium in Sudan. It nearly caused a political crisis between Egypt and Algeria. After the match Algeria was qualified to represent the Arabs in the 2010 World Cup.
Violent events occurred, such as the stoning of the bus of Algeria’s national team at its arrival in Cairo. The violence even reached far away places such as the city of Marseille in the south of France, or the hacking of several news websites reporting about the game, are all events that contradict the image of football as a sport that knows no boundaries and brings people together. These irrational behaviours show that football is much more than just a game.
Egyptian football fans accused their Algerian counterparts of assaulting them after the game. This prompted some politicians in Cairo to demand an Egyptian politician escalation against Algeria. All these facts demonstrate that football is no longer a mere game. Irrational behaviour has turned it into a battlefield and a way of igniting differences between Arab countries" 11
In Brief - Around The World
In Brief - Around The World
Around The World
8 US Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State confirmed that the Obama administration was seeking greater accountability from Afghan President Hamid Karzai, suggesting that future civilian aid to the country could be tied to more aggressive action to combat corruption
1 China Speaking with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Obama said that the United States and China will work together to confront the threat of an Iran that is armed with nuclear weapons. Obama says the United Nations Security Council members are unified against such a prospect. He assured China that the United States does not seek to contain China's rise. Obama declared that he sees no need to change Washington's "one-China" policy, which views Taiwan as part of China.
9 Britain Gordon Brown, Britain prime minister affirmed support for the NATO mission at Afghanistan. Brown added "he contacted governments both inside and outside the 45-member NATO-led coalition, asking them to send more soldiers to train and mentor Afghan forces so they can take responsibility for security in their own country".
3 Palestine Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian president said "Palestinian Authority leaders are launching a new diplomatic campaign to gain international backing for a Palestinian state through a UN Security Council vote, after which they will unilaterally declare statehood in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu warned that such a declaration would destroy previous peace agreements.
4 Iraq 2 Saudi Arabia Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz confirmed that all armed infiltrators have been driven out of the Saudi territory by the countryâ€™s armed forces. He thanked world leaders for expressing solidarity with Saudi Arabia after the attack. 20 November, 2009
Boris Boillon, French Ambassador to Iraq said that France and Iraq are going to sign several agreements of cooperation. Boillon said the two countries will discuss cooperation on defense and security, aviation, culture and economy. Several agreements, including two economic contracts, are expected to be signed.
6 Japan 5 Venezuela President Hugo Chavez says he won't accept international mediation efforts aimed at easing tensions between Venezuela and Colombia. Brazil offered to help mediate between Caracas and Bogota. Chavez said "We don't accept mediation. 12
Toshimi Kitazawa, Japan Defense minister said "Japan and India have agreed to bolster their defense ties, committing to an action plan that will enhance cooperation in areas including maritime security and counter-terrorism". The two sides also agreed to step up defense cooperation, consenting to joint military exercises, bilateral and regional cooperation in peacekeeping. Issue 1533
7 North Korea Pak Ui-Chun, North Korean foreign minister accused South Korea's military of staging a naval clash to raise tensions on the peninsula, and warned Seoul would pay dearly for the provocation. Each side has blamed the other for exchange of fire near the disputed Yellow Sea border.
10 France Syrian President Bashar Al-assad expressed his disappointment over Israel's lack of real interest in the Middle East Peace process, after having talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris. He said the peace process can not be restarted with only one side, criticizing Israel for being short of sincerity. 13
In Brief - Quotes Of The Week
Magazine Round Up
The Palestinians Will he jump?
Of The Week
"We are running out of time with respect to that approach" Barack Obama warned after meeting Mr. Medvedev in respect to talks regarding Iran nuclear program
"This peace process cannot only be relaunched by one party. Syria wants peaceâ€Ś What we are missing is the Israeli partnership, and we need it in order to renew peace talks and obtain results" Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told reporters during his visit to France "The recession remains alive and acute" US Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, on the fact that even though the country's GDP expanded in the third quarter, unemployment and credit woes still persists
"I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government... could not get them if they really wanted to" US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to Pakistan journalists on how their leaders act regarding capturing Qaeda leaders 20 November, 2009
3 The Economist
2 2 Time The Fort Hood Killer: Terrified ... or Terrorist?
Magazine Round Up 1 Newsweek
Time's cover story this week analyzes the Fort Hood incident. It tackles many questions that have been raised in America as a result of this unfortunate event, was the massacre of Fort Hood another horrific workplace shooting? Or was it an act of terrorism? Would the United Stated continue to fight a war against an enemy it fails to understand? The nature of terrorism is changing and so should the policies to counter it.
This article assumes that "Whether or not Mahmoud Abbas goes, the Palestinians look both divided and leaderless". It examines Abbas's declaration on the 5th of November that he would not run for presidency in January. This is considered a blow to the peace process as no one really knows if Mr. Abbas goes who will come? And what are the policies the new president will adopt and whether or not it will push the peace process forward.
4 Businessweek China's End Run Around the U.S.
This article sheds light on Obama's visit to Asian countries with special focus to China "America's key trading partner and rival". This visit will have direct implications on US-China trade relations. China's trade patterns vis-Ă -vis the United States toward Asian countries and the Middle East as well as its implication on world trade are being discussed thoroughly in this article.
Cover Of The Week
Is America Losing Its Mojo? Americans like to believe that "innovation" is part of their culture and that they have the trademark for creativity. Whenever decision makers are asked to rank countries on innovation, the United States always comes first by a large margin. Recently this seems to be changing. Lately literature has been written about "The rise of the rest" and Fareed Zakaria was one of the preachers of this notion. In his article Zakaria warns that America maybe falling behind in innovation and poses the question: Who's making the discoveries today? 14
Newstatesman A state of collapse It seems that Barack Obama's attempts to bring the Israelis and Palestinians together have failed. Since Barack Obama became president he has been pushing the "two- state" and still we haven't witnessed any progress. American attempts to force the Israelis and Palestinians into meaningful negotiations have only revealed the differences between them, and how empty the concept of the two-state solution has become. Issue 1533
In Brief - Letters
In Brief - Magazine Round Up
LAST ISSUE Eurasec: a powerful term in the investment glossary?
The Insights of an Oldtime Veteran
Iranian Nuclear Deal Stumbles Richard Weitz
By Caryle Murphy
Whatâ€™s In A Name?
Sameh Toukan is a perfect example of ambition and determination, we hope that Arab youth will follow such fine examples, I was really pleased when I heard that the qualitative leap that has moved Maktoob under careful management a high degree of experience and how this is something we should all be proud of.
Issue 1532, 13 November 2009
Yosri El-ghazawy - Jordan
Arab Facebook There is no doubt that the Internet provided for visitors, new ways to connect and convergence between different sectors Facebook is one of the most important social networks for ease of use this, prompts many Arab politicians and non-Arabs to use it to guide their thoughts and plans for the future.
Hesham zayani - Iraq
Digital Liftoff Yahoo continues in its expansion after extensive negotiations Yahoo announced that it included Maktoob , We should be proud that there is an Arab company that was able to attract the attention of international companies to enter into and negotiate a deal with a heavy-caliber and this opens for us the door to the world of investment or investment networking Web sites.
Zeyad Makram - Egypt 20 November, 2009
The Insights of an Oldtime Veteran I agree with Dr. Abdul Karim al-Iryani in terms of the external orientations that effect Houthis, what we have seen the during previous period assures us that there is an invisible hand that is seeking to destabilize the situation in Yemen.
Mahmud Taha - Yemen 16
30 Years After the Siege of Mecca By Prof Jean-Pierre Filiu
20 November, 2009
The End of Jihad 30 Years After the Siege of Mecca Thirty Years after the attacks on Mecca, Professor Jean Pierre Filiu, traces the evolution of this tactic. Highlighting the rise of nationalist and revolutionary jihad, Filiu illustrates how modern attempts of jihad are demonstrative of a crisis within Al-Qaida. More importantly, it highlights the hallow call of jihad, or the inevitable failure of this tactic to promote global revolution.
occupation, putting aside ethnic and linguistic differences. This Afghan jihad was the last of a long series of anti-colonial insurgencies against European domination. Others also led by charismatic figures included Abdelkader in Algeria (1832-1847), Shamil in the Caucasus (1834-1859) and Umar al-Mukhtar in Libya (1911-1931). The Afghans fought to liberate their country and, in nearly ten years of anti-Soviet struggle, they never exported their violence outside of the Afghan borders. The Afghan mujahideen requested their fellow Muslims to support their nationalist uprising politically and materially, but they needed many more weapons than volunteers since the anti-Soviet fighters were numerous. Nevertheless, two former militants of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Jordanian Abdallah Azzam and the Saudi Usama Bin Laden, established, the Services Bureau in Pakistan an international network to channel Arab funds and recruits to the anti-Soviet jihad. The operation was launched at a very low key and developed only in 198687. Thousands of Arab militants were welcomed in training camps in Western Pakistan, but only hundreds of them crossed the border to actually fight in Afghanistan, where their contribution to the liberation of the country was negligible.
ovember 20, 1979, is the first day of muharram, or the first month of 1400 according to the Islamic calendar. It is also the day the siege of Mecca took place. The fifteenth century of Islam opened with a sacrilege of such magnitude that its impact took time to dawn upon observers and believers alike. On this day, the collective prayer in Mecca haram was disrupted by some two hundred gunmen, who pledged allegiance to Muhammad al-Qahtani, a self-proclaimed Mahdi. This extraordinary pledge was purportedly based on a classical hadith, whereby the Mahdi would appear at the end of time, between Abraham’s station (maqam) and one of the Kaaba’s 20 November, 2009
corner (rukn). Juhayman al-Utaybi, Qahtani’s brother-in-law, led the insurgents and justified his doomsday jihad by the urge to “purify” Islam. He began with its holiest site. The siege lasted two weeks, resulted in hundreds of casualties and ruined part of the sanctuary. The Saudi public and the Muslim world watched in horror as Utaybi’s followers turned Mecca’s compound into a battlefield. The rebels, holed up in their apocalyptic creed and loaded with ammunitions became completely isolated and their revolutionary pamphlets stirred only shock and disbelief. Their messianic uprising was so incredible that many conspir-
acy theories started to float, and radical demonstrators even stormed the US Embassy in Pakistan, pretending this was all an American “plot”. Qahtani was killed, but Utaybi survived, only to be executed with dozens of insurgents, a few weeks later. Revolutionary jihad consequently came to be identified in Saudi Arabia with sacrilege and the Sunni community considered any invocation of the Mahdi with utmost suspicion. While Utaybi’s message ended with his death, a new front opened for jihad in the East: the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 27, 1979, and the resistance rallied under the banner of jihad against foreign 20
Azzam respected the Afghan freedom struggle, while Bin Laden planned to organize independent Arab units of jihadi militants. He radicalized this vision under the influence of Ayman al-Zawahiri and the militants from the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ): the liberation of Muslim lands from foreign occupation was only one dimension of an all-out jihad, whose ambition was to topple the Muslim regimes, branded as “apostates”. This accusation of apostasy, or takfir, alienated this group from the rest of the militants and was central in the clandestine founding of Al-Qaida (“the Base”, in Arabic), in August 1988. All the members of Al-Qaida had to pledge personal and absolute allegiance to Bin Laden. Azzam had no place in this grand design and Issue 1533
he was killed in a booby-trapped bombing in November 1989. Competing Jihads At the beginning of the nineties, the stage was set for a renewed era of competition between revolutionary jihad and nationalist jihad. The nascent Al-Qaida played on both sides to promote its original agenda of global jihad. The “Afghan” veterans were back in the Arab world and while their military credentials were often debatable, their political prestige was impressive. In Algeria and Egypt, they weighed in favor of the escalation of the revolutionary campaign of jihadi terror against the regime and its supporters. Al-Qaida tried to take advantage of these civil wars, but the Algerian Islamic Armed Group (GIA) rejected any foreign interference, even from fellow jihadis. Likewise, the Egyptian activists of the Gamaa islamiyya admitted their defeat in 1997 by suspending their violent campaign.
The siege lasted two weeks, resulted in hundreds of casualties and ruined part of the sanctuary. The Saudi public and the Muslim world watched in horror as Utaybi’s followers turned Mecca’s compound into a battlefield Frustrated with revolutionary jihad, Al-Qaida tried to hijack nationalist struggles for its own benefit. The jihadi volunteers that traveled to Bosnia after the dismantling of Yugoslavia in 1992, where they were contained by the regular Bosnian army and eventually expelled in the
fall of 1995. After 1996 Al-Qaida was more successful in monitoring the training of the Pakistani guerrillas that were smuggled into Kashmir to fight the Indian forces. However, they were also successful in eliminating the local supporters of Kashmiri independence. In the same spirit, the Arab fighters that went to Chechnya helped the radical Shamil Basaiev against the nationalist trend. Their offensive against neighboring Daghestan, in August 1999, gave to the Red army the justification for coming into Chechnya and crushing the independent republic. At the time, Al-Qaida was still a codename, used only by insiders, but in February 1998 global jihad went public when Bin Laden and Zawahiri announced the launching of the “World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and the Crusaders.” In their manifesto, they urged any Muslim individual, anywhere in the world, to strike anytime at any American or any American ally, without distinction between civilian and military targets. This global jihad was clearly a modern invention, contradicting fourteen centuries of Islamic practice and tradition: jihad had generally been 21
Features Laden’s followers, not by the US army, but by Sunni guerrillas, was a devastating blow for the global jihad and sent shockwaves all over the Muslim world, weakening AlQaida’s prestige and franchises. This showdown between global and national jihad reached new rhetorical heights when Al-Qaida, frustrated with the absence from Lebanon and Palestine, started a propaganda campaign against Hezbollah and Hamas. It accused them of having “sold” their land and their cause to Israel by accepting ceasefires or elections. It urged Hamas to establish an “Islamic emirate” in Gaza, but Bin Laden’s sympathizers were crushed by Hamas forces. Al-Qaida repeatedly used sectarian slanders to attack the Shi’a guerrillas in Lebanon, without reaching a breakthrough on the ground. Global jihad turned increasingly virtual and relied heavily on Internet, while national jihad was deeply pushing its militant roots.
a collective duty. Only through a consensus of the ulama and the religious leaders could individual jihad be considered legitimate, and only in very specific and limited circumstances. Al-Qaida’s free-for-all interpretation of jihad was without precedent, it cut the historical link between jihad and a community to be mobilized or a territory to be defended. Both Bin Laden and Zawahiri lacked any dogmatic credentials to substantiate such an innovation. Al-Qaida could flourish in Afghanistan under the protection of Mullah Umar’s “Islamic emirate”. A new generation of jihadi volunteers flocked to training camps, this time not to fight an invading army on a specific territory, but to export subversion globally. Al-Qaida’s encompassing vision could articulate the regional agendas of its most vibrant 20 November, 2009
partners, like the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in Central Asia or the Jemaa Islamiyya (JI) in South East Asia. The Taliban trusted their Arab allies in the international arena letting them implement violent provocations and effectively turning their whole territory into a full-fledged “Jihadistan”, dedicated to the promotion of global jihad. The attacks on New York and Washington, on September 11, 2001, were planned to trigger a wave of revolutionary jihad all over the Muslim world, while Al-Qaida was betting on American reprisals against Afghanistan and hoping the US would be defeated on that battlefield like the late USSR. Bin Laden’s strategic gamble collapsed with the quick demise of the Taliban regime and with the general outrage against the 9/11 attacks.
So Al-Qaida, increasingly is olated, went underground to prepare its own terror campaign against Saudi Arabia. Launched in May 2003, this series of bombings generated a backlash against the jihadi ideology and most of the activist networks were dismantled in less than two years. The Crisis of Global Jihad It took the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, for Al-Qaida to reconstitute some of its potential, collaborating with the nationalist insurgency. But the local guerrillas resented Zarqawi’s use of Iraq as a platform to export terror in the neighboring countries, like in Amman in November 2005. So tensions escalated and the national jihadis ultimately expelled Al-Qaida from its stronghold in the Western province of Anbar, in 2007. The defeat of Bin 22
So Al-Qaida, unable to sustain a revolutionary jihad in Saudi Arabia, also failed to divert national jihad in the Middle East. The crisis of the global jihad was worsened when even the most radical of the jihadi scholars withdrew their support from AlQaida (including one of its founding members, the Egyptian “Doctor Fadel”, or Sayyid Imam al-Sharif). Bin Laden and his followers were portrayed as having “betrayed” the core values of Islam. They reacted by stressing the privilege of the jihadi fighters, even those with no religious background, to decide what is right and wrong in Islam. Al-Qaida is promoting a new cult, transferring the theological legitimacy from the ulama to the militants. This escalation of symbolic violence matches the fact that the overwhelming majority of Al-Qaida’s victims are Muslims. Bin Laden, faced with this growing problem, looked more positively on Utaybi’s revolutionary jihad. But Al-Qaida continues to adhere to its global agenda and does not follow any doomsday countdown. The sacrilege of Mecca has neutralized most of the messianic energies in the Sunni world. The situation is Issue 1533
totally different in the Shi’a world, where the longing for the Mahdi, or Hidden Imam, has strong political undertones. Moqtada Sadr, an Iraqi cleric aged only 30, but son and grand-nephew of two “martyred” ayatollahs, played on this dimension when launching his “Mahdi’s army” in 2003. The “sadrist” movement combined military jihad and political maneuvers, while a more clear-cut doomsday militia, “The Supporters of the Imam Mahdi”, developed in Southern Iraq. Their uprising was crushed in the holy city of Najaf, in January 2007, and the outrage was comparable in the Shi’a world to the shock caused in the whole umma, in November 1979, by the storming of the Kaaba. Utaybi’s Hallow Call Thirty years after the bloodbath in Mecca, Utaybi’s call for arms rings no echo. Revolutionary jihad has failed everywhere in the Muslim world or, like in Somalia, has engineered endless cycles of civil war. The jihadi scene is therefore dominated by national jihad, especially in the cases of Hamas and Hezbollah, but their confrontation with Israel has made them more popular outside than inside their own territories. Ethno-national jihad is also the name of the game for militant guerrillas fighting for Muslim minorities, as in Thailand or in Philippines, but the lack of
unified leadership is weakening their position. In all these crises, the need to convert the military records into political achievements is the main challenge faced by nationalist jihad. During the past three decades, news headlines have been focusing on the violent dimension of jihad, ignoring the growing popularity of the non-military version of jihad. International campaigns against poverty, illiteracy or pandemics have been launched under the banner of jihad, for instance through the Organization of Islamic Conference. The increased empowerment of civil society led to other initiatives of socially-conscious jihad. While Al-Qaida is drifting away from Islam and promoting its own cult, this grass-root evolution is a welcome reminder that jihad is not necessarily violent and that it is a comprehensive endeavor to fulfill the Prophet’s message.
Jean-Pierre Filiu - Professor at Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) and was visiting professor at Georgetown University. The French History Convention awarded its main prize to his “Apocalypse in Islam,” to be published in English by the University of California Press. 23
20 November, 2009
on juhayman movement
Unclassified For the first time The Majalla is publishing three classified documents about the incident of the seizer of the Holy Mosque in Mecca. These documents were recently released by the CIA. We are publishing an exact copy of the original documents, as they contain important details that were not published before. The events of the Holy Mosque incident The first document is a letter from the U.S. embassy in Kuwait to the U.S. State Department informing the Department that the embassy has obtained a copy of Juhayman's 4 booklets, which were printed in Kuwait. The embassy demanded that the booklets be translated and studied, as Juhayman challenged the rulers of the Islamic world in these booklets. The second document is a classified confidential report from the U.S. embassy in London about the Islamic demonstrations in front of the embassy. These demonstrations protested against the U.S. role in the incident of the Holy Mosque, according to Khomeini's allegations about the involvement of the U.S. in the events. The third document is a classified report from the U.S. embassy in Jeddah to the U.S. State Department on the scenario of how the events of the Holy Mosque had ended. U.S. pilots flying helicopters belonging to the Saudi civil defense had monitored the ending of the incident. The following are exact copies of the original documents...
UNCLASSIFIED RELEASED IN FULL From The American Embassy in Kuwait To The secretary of Foreign in Washington. CONFIDENTIAL Kuwait 5737 < Subject: (C) MECCA MOSQUE INCIDENT: THE WRITINGS OF JUHAYMAN AL-UTAYBI > REF: (A) KUWAIT 5422 (NOTAL, (B) JIDDDA 8553 1. (C – ENTIRE TEXT). CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 02 KUWAIT 05737 182129Z 2. WE HAVE OBTAINED A COPY OF THE BOOKLET DESCRIBED (REF A) WRITTEN BY THE SPOKESMAN FOR "BROTHERHOOD GROUP" AND ONE OF THE LEADERS OF THE ASSAULT ON MECCA'S GROUP MOSQUE, JUHAYMAN MOHAMMED SAYF ALUTAYBI AS WELL AS THREE OTHER BOOKLETS BY THE SAMS INDIVIDUAL .AS JIDDA HAS REPORTED (REF B) THESE BOOKLETS WERE PUBLTSHED HERE AND JUHAYMAN AL – UTAYBI SPENT SOME TIME IN KUWAIT. FOUR BOOKS ARE ENTITLED: A) "THE CALIPHATE (IMAM, PLEDGING OF ALLEGIANCE AND OBEDIENCE. AND REVEALING HOW RULERS DECIEVE LEARNED MEN AND THE
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COMMON PEOPLE". (37 PAGES). B) "THE ONENESS AS IT OCCURRED, AND IS CALLED FOR IN THE KORAN ". (48 PAGES). C) "THE BROTHERS ' CALL: HOW IT STARTED AND ITS OBJECTIVE. ADVICE AND WARNING CONCERNING THE GRAVE DANGERS AND CORRUPTION AT SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES.' (36 PAGES). EXTRACTS OF THIS BOOKLET WERE PUBLISHED IN A KUWAITI NEWSPAPER NOV 29 (REF A ) . D) "THE BELANCE OF MAN'S LIFE: THE REASON FOR DEVIATIONS FROM THE STRAIGHT PATH.' (27 PAGES). 3. DIPPING IN TO THESE BOOKLETS, WE COME AWAY WITH PRELIMILARY IMPRESSION THAT THEY ARE MORE THAN EXPRESSIONS OF RELIGIOUS ZEALOTRY, AS SUGGESTED REF B, PARA 8 . HOWEVER, WE FIND THEM SO LARDED WITH OBSCURE THEOLOGICAL REFERENCES THAT, EVEN HAD WE HAD TIME AND RESOURCES TO ATTEMPT A FULL AND SCHOLARLY TRANSLATION, WE WOULD NOT WISH TO DO SO. FOR FLAVOR, HOWEVER, WE NOTE
THAT IN BOOKLET ONE, JUHAYMAN CHALLENGES THE AUTHORITY OF TODAY ' S MUSLIM RULERS WHOL HE DESCRIBES AS "IMPOSED" AND UNWORTHY OF ALLEGIANCE OR OBEDIENCE BECAUSE THEY RULE WITHOUT REFERENCE TO KORAN AND THE SUNNA (THE WAY OF THE PROPHET.)HE CONDEMNED MEN OF RELIGION WHO PRAY FOR SUCH RULERS AND HE ATTACKS THE MUTAWA'EEN (RELIGIOUS POLICE UN SAUDI ARABIA) AS SERVANTS OF MAN RATHER THAN OF GOD. 4. ACTION REQUESTED: IN VIEW OF POSSIBLE IMPORTANCE OF THESE TEXTS IN ATTEMPING TO ANALYZE SIGNFICANCE OF BROTHERHOOD GROUP IN PARTICULAR AND ISLAMIC REVIVAL IN GENERAL, PLEASE INSTRUCT EMBASSY TO WHOM IT SHOULD FORWARD COPIES OF THE FOUR BOOKLETS FOR TRANSLATION AND STUDY. DICKEMAN CONFIDENTIAL UNCLASSIDIED
UNCLASSIFEIED CONFIDENTIAL RELEASED IN FULL NOV 79 FM AMEMBASSY LOMNDON TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5125 CONFIDENTIAL LONDON 23196
SIBJECT: MUSLIM DEMONSTRATION AT EMBASSY LONDON
CONFIDENTIAL RELEASED IN FULL
1. (C) A MUSLIM DEMONSTRATION PROTESTING THE ALLEGED AMERLCAN ROLE IN THE MECCA SEIZURE TOOK PLACE AT 18:00 GMT IN FRONT OF EMBASSY LONDON. THE DEMONSTRATION WAS NON VIOLENT AND WITHOUT INCIDENT. THE FIFTY TO SEVENTY FIVE DEMONSTRATORS WERE WELL POLICED. A THREATENING PROTEST NOTE WAS GIVEN TO AN EMBASSY OFFICIAL BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE GROUP. 2. (LOU) TEXT FOLLOWS : TITLE : AMERICA'S SINISTER MECCA PLOT BACKFIRED THE MUSLIM WORLD IS CONVINCED THAT THE TUESDAY'S DISTURBANCES IN THE GRAND MOSQUE (KABA) OF MECCA , SAUDI ARABIA , IS NOTHING BUT THE LATEST OF THE CIA'S DIRTY TRICKS. AMERICA TRIED TO SOW THE SEED OF DISUNITY AMONG THE 20 November, 2009
MUSIM NATIONS. BUT THEY FAILED MISERABLY. THIS TIME MUSLIM WORLD WAS QUCK TO DETECT THE REAL CRIMINAL-THE UNITED STATES. THE WORLD SHOULD REALIZE THAT SITTING THOUSANDS OF MILES AMAY FROM MECCA, AMERICAN STATE DEPARTMENT'S SPOKESMAN MR. HODDING CARTER WAS THE FIRST TO INFORM THE WORLD CONFIDENTIAL ABOUT THE MECCA INCIDENT. PRESIDENT CARTER SHOULD REALIZE THAT THE CIA'S ACT OF POLLUTING THE HOLIEST MOSQUE OF MECCA TOUCHED THE SENTIMENT OF 700 MILLION MUSLIMS ACROSS THE WORLD. THE UNITED STATES SHOULD KNOW THAT IT
IS PLAYING WITH FIRE. WE, THE MUSLIMS, WILL NOT BE COWED DOWN WITH THE THREATS OF FLEETS AND BOMBS. ALL THE CONSPIRATORS SHOULD KNOW AND KNOW IT VERY WELL THAT THE MUSLIMS WILL BE PROUD TO LAY DOWN THEIR LIVES TO PRESERVE THE HONOR AND SANCTITY OF THEIR HOLY PLACES. WE WARN THE UNITED STATES NOT TO MEDDLE WITH THE AFFAIRS OF THE MUSLIM WORLD ANY MORE. A. K. M. ABDUS SALAM , PRESIDENT, DAWA'TUL ISLAM : UK AND EIRE R. A. SIDDIQUE, PRESIDENT, UK ISALAMI MISSION, ON BEHALF OF THE MUSLIME OF BRITAIN 22 NOV 79. END TEXT. BREWSTER CONFIDENTIAL
SUBJ: (S) OCCUPATION OF GRAND MOSQUE MECCA: THE DRAMA APPARENTLY ENDS SECRET 1. S – ENTIRE TEXT. 2. THE DRAMA AT MECCA IS APPARENRLY ALMOST , IF NOT COMPLETELY OVER AND THE ENDING APPEARS TO HAVE TO BEEN DEAMATIC AND VIOLENT. AMERICAN PILOTS (STIRCTLY PROTECT) FLYING SAUDI CIVIL Issue 1533
DEFENSE HELTCOPTERS ON CONTRACT TOLD POLOFF THAT THEY HAD HOVERED OVER THE GRAND MOSQUE AND VICINITY BETWEEN 1335 AND 1500 HOURS GMT NOV 24 AND OBSERVED WHAT THEY BELIEVE WAS MOPPING UP STAGE OF THE FINAL ASSAULT ON THE MOSQUE.
HELICOPTERS WERE BEING USED BY SAUDIS FOR RECONNAISSANCE PURPOSES. 3. PILOTS STATE THAT WHEY CAME ON STATION AT 1335 HOURS GMT; THEY OBSERVED TWO APC'S DRIVING AROUND THE INTERIOR COURTYARD OF 29
THE MOSQUE AND RAPIDLY FIRING THEIR WEAPONS INTO THE SURROUNDING RAMPARTS. PILOTS COULD NOT BETERMINE WHETHER APC'S WERE FIRING AT THE FIRST OR SECOND STORIES. THEY OBSERVED BLACK SMOKE RISING FROM A PORTION OF THE EASTERN SIDE OF THE BUILDING AS THE RESULT OF ONE OF THESE FUSILLADES, AND LATER OBSERVED ANOTHER LARGE QUANTITY OF SMOKE RISING FROM THE NORTHWESTERN PART OF THE BUILDING. GREATEST DAMAGE APPEARED TO BE ON THE NORTHERN SIDE OF THE MOSQUE, THE SIDE WHICH HAS A LONG GALLERY EXTENDING AT RIGHT ANGLES FROM THE MAIN BUILDING . HERE, A VERY LARGE FIRE WAS BLAZING FROM THE GROUND TO THE SECOND STORY IN THE AREA BETWEEN THE TWIN MINARETS .FIRE ENGINES OUTSUDE THE MOSQUE WERE TRYING TO CONTAIN THE FIRE. PILOTS STATED THAT SOME OF THE SEVEN MINARETS OF THE MOSQUE HAD BEEN BADLY RIDDLED BY THE APC FIRE. ON THE LONG EXTENDED GALLERY ITSELF, PILOTS STATED THAT THEY SAW 40 – 50 SAUDI SOLDIERS (PROBABLY NATIONAL GUARDSMEN) STANDING ON THE ROOF. THEY APPEARED TO BE STANDING IDLY AND NOT MAINTING ANY PARICULAR MILITARY POSITION. EIGHT ADDITIONAL APC'S 20 November, 2009
WERE IN THE STREET SOURROUNDING THE MOSQUE BUT THEY WERE NOT FIRING THEIR WEAPONS. 4. PILOTS SAID THAT SAUDI OFFICER ACCCOMPANYING THEM HAS TOLD THEM SECRET ASSAULT HAD BEGUN IN THE EARLY AFTERNOON AND WAS LED BY A GENERAL UNIT. THERE WAS NO ESTIMATE AS TO CASUALTIES, AND PILOTS STATE THET SAW NO DEAD OR WOUNDED, ALTHOUGH PRESUMABLY NUMBER WAS CON IDERABLE. AS ONE INDICATION, EMBASSY LEARNED EARLIER TODAY THAT AT 1100 GMT NOV 24, ALL MUSLIM DOCTORS STAFF AT THE JIDDA MILITARY HOSPTIAL (ABOUT 2025- PERSONS) WERE INSTRUCTED TO PROCEED TO MECCA AND TO BRING ALONG AN OVERNIGHT BAG. 5. PILOTS ASID THAT JUST PRIOR TO RETURNING TO JIDDA BASE, THEY WERE INSTRUCTED TO FLY LOW OVER THE RIDES NEAR THE MOSQUE. 6. ACCOMPANYING SAUDI OFFICER TOLD THEM THAT UNKNOWN NUMBER OF ISLAMIC DISSIDENTS HAD MANAGED TO ESCAPE THE GRAND MOSQUE AND WERE BELIEVED TO BE HIDING IN THE VICNITY OF MECCA. PILOTS SAID THEY SAW NO SUSPICIOUS PERSONS, ALTHOUGH SAUDI SOLDIERS APPEARED TO BE ALMOST
EVERYWHERE. 7.COMMENT: PRIOR TO TODAY'S ASSAULT, SAUDI STRATEGY HAD VERY MUCH ONE OF "STARVING OUT" THE ISLAMIC DISSIDENTS OCCUPYING THE MOSQUE. THE FACT THAT THIS POLICY FAILED AND THAT DRACONIAN MEASURES HAD TO BE USED TO FINALLY SECURE THIS MOST HOLY AND SANCTIFIED SHRINE IS PROBABLY A REFLECTION OF BOTH THE DEGREE TO WHICH THE DISSIDENTS WERE ARMED AND THE THAT SAUDI CASUALTY RATES HAD REACHED AN INTOLERABLE LEVEL. SAUDIS MAY ALSO HAVE BEEN A VICTIM OF THEIR OWN PUBLICITY. WHILE NOT QUITE CLAIMING TOTAL VICTORY, OFFICIAL SAUDI COMMENT HAS REPEATEDLY STATED OVER PAST TWO DAYS THAT MOSQUE COMPLETELY IN CONTROL OF SAUDL FORCES AND THAT OPERATION NOW IN ITS LAST STAGES (SEE FBIS LONDON LD20628 FOR EXAMPLE). THIS WAS CLEARLY NOT THE CASE , AND WITH NEWSPAPERS LIKE THE NOV 24 AEAB NEWS PROUDLY ANNOUNCING THAT QTE THE HOLY KA'ABA IS SAVED, SAG PROBABLY FELT IT HAD MORE TO LOSE THAN TO GAIN BY NOT TAKING THE ACTION NECESSARY TO BRING THE GRAND MOSQUE BACK INTO ITS CONTROL QUICKLY . WEST SECRET 30
The Bogey Man
To w h a t e x t e n t d i d t h e d i s s e n t i o n o f J u h a y m a n c h a n g e S a u d i s o c i e t y ? This is the question that is being raised in this debate. A number of Saudi authors and writers have tried to answer it. Dr Ali bin Hamad Al-Khchiban stresses the deep impact this incident had on the intellectual and cultural make-up of the Saudi society. Mansour Al-Nogaidan tackles the incident from a narrative perspective. He recounts the events surrounding the incident and their projections on the Saudi society. At another level, Dr Turki Al-Hamad and Khaled Al-Mushawah analyze the shock resulting from the siege of Mecca, which had its repercussions on Saudi Arabia for years following the incident. Thirty years after the siege of Mecca, The Majalla re-examines this incident from all the different perspectives.
SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi boys stand in line on their first day back to school in Riyadh ÂŠ Getty Images
A Catalyst of Change
Dissention Inside The Holy Mosque A turning point in history?
How did Juhayman impact the intellectual orientation of Saudi society While many claim that Juhayman is to blame for changes in Saudi society, Dr.Ali bin Hamad AlKhchiban claims that Saudi society was already heading in that direction. The siege of Mecca only accelerated the process. Dr Ali bin Hamad Al-Khchiban
he twentieth of November 1979 was not an ordinary day for Saudi society. On that day a group led by a man called Juhayman-Otaibi occupied The Holy Mosque in Mecca.
approaches of social intellect in many Islamic societies. I believe that if the Afghan war hadn't coincided with the incident of The Holy Mosque, the impact of the incident would have been less significant.
Juhayman was a known figure in Saudi society at the time. Many religious scholars and religious students from around the world had met Juhayman. They had listened to his Brotherhood-ideas, his embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood doctrine was well known to everyone, except for some minor modifications which the nature of society he lived in had made necessary. They had also met with Mohammed al-Qahtani, whom Juhayman pledged allegiance to, as he believed him to be the Mahdi (the prophesied saviour of Islam).
Many analysts believed that the Juhayman's incident was the reason behind intellectual change and the tendency towards extremism in Saudi society. Indeed, the intellectual impact of Juhayman's incident could have been stopped by simply wiping out the rebels. But Juhayman's incident succeeded in changing the intellectual culture of Saudi society. The incident allowed for a shift in intellectual thought, with the help of social and political factors at the local and international levels. Such factors ranged from an explicit Muslim Brotherhood trend to a Sahoa (Wake-up) movement, which mainly consisted of intellectual views derived from the preexisting intellectual Brotherhood in the Saudi society for nearly two decades.
But, as much as the Saudi society was totally shocked by Juhayman's acts - especially those who realized the seriousness of what he did â€“ the implementation of Juhayman's demands from Saudi society were already under way, without knowing what the outcome of such an incident would be. I disagree with the supporters of such hypothesis which states that Juhayman's activities are solely responsible for what Saudi society has become. The reason for which I can't accept this hypothesis is that its an incoherent argument. Politically, the state would not respond to Juhayman's demands and apply these demands, while, at the time, fight this trend during the days of the occupation of The Holy Mosque and issued death sentences for the perpetrators of the attack. Instead, I believe that what Juhayman really did, was to accelerate cultural changes in Saudi society faster than expected, especially since this society was going to witness the Russian-Afghan war, which would erupt a month later, after the incident of The Holy Mosque. On the twenty fifth of December of the same year the Soviet Union entered Afghanistan. As a result the Afghan war broke out. These events changed many 20 November, 2009
Analysts believe that the incident of the Holy Mosque had a significant impact on society - in terms of the quality and quantity of intellectual thoughts - because of the similarity between the demands of the Sahoa movement in the years following the incident, and those of Juhayman's. We must consider the gap in time between the Juhaymanis and the Sahoaies. This time gap was defined by international and domestic policies through trends which allowed for radicalism according to the Sahoaiesâ€™ approach to society, with a clear understanding that the demands of Sahoaies does not differ from those of Juhaymanis. The political internal and external circumstances encouraged Sahoa (Wakeup) leaders to fight and declare Jihad, but a kind of Jihad exercised outside society. They urged the young people who wish to bring back the Islamic History through realistic experiences of battles between Muslims and disbelievers, as they called them. Sahoa leaders directly called for participating in the Afghani war. For Juhayman, the situation was different.
I think Juhayman could have been a real successor of Bin Laden, had he delayed implementing his operations for more than a month. If he had been patient, he would have changed his plans, to gain a geographical space where he could have implemented his suggestions and ideas in Afghanistan with a global, political support. Having been known for his extremism and strong tendency to Brotherhood, he could have been directed to Afghanistan, had the circumstances been more appropriate. It is logical not to exaggerate the impact of Juhayman's events on society because the existence of the "Afghani phenomenon" and the political support it had contributed to the drastic changes in the practice of radical Islamic ideology in society. Many preachers and scholars in society have been allowed to enter the line of jihad. Those preachers and scholars urge the young people to participate in Jihad without being aware of the evil goals behind their calls. But this phenomenon can not go into society without creating a solid radical ground on which those preachers and scholars stand without fear. The social dimension, organizations and facilities made for the Sahoa supporters form a strong starting point to urge the young people and encourage them to participate in the Afghani Jihad, and have a taste of a history similar to the invasions of the Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him). Juhayman's acts were just a means to reveal the other side of the intellectual approach, which arose from the surrounding political circumstances in the region. Three global events created a new intellectual trend, not only at the level of the Saudi society, but at the global level as well. These events included the Iranian revolution, the Juhayman's acts and finally the Afghani war. That's why we can't say that the events of The Sacred Mosque were the main factor that pushed society into radicalism of Sahoa. In this way, extremism has escalated and become uncontrollable.
Professor of Social Science. 34
While the incident of the Holy Mosque greatly impacted Saudi society, it did not create as much change as other important events in the region.
he incident of Juhayman or the incident of the Holy Mosque, as the Saudi people call it, occurred thirty years ago, at the beginning of the current century. It was not an incident that could easily be erased from the memory of Saudi Arabia. No such event had occurred after the establishment of the modern Saudi state in 1351 A.H. This incident might be considered a turning point in history and an important event in the cultural change that society went through at that time. The group of Juhayman al-Otaibi seized the Holy Mosque in Mecca to announce the arrival of the Mahdi. In the course of their action they violated the sanctity of the old house, which is considered the Muslims' holiest sites. Further more, this violation was made during the sacred month. Their actions were launched based on a religious idea that was based on visionary dreams, and literal interpretations of religious texts. But had this incident really changed and influenced the Saudi society? The short answer to this question is yes. The incident had its impact on society with regard to the official position on Islamic organizations and parties. Before the incident these organizations operated freely withIssue 1533
Khaled Abdullah Al-Mushawah
out any control or restrictions being imposed on them by the Saudi society, which is considered to be a religious society in terms of its origins, cultural and social structures. But after this incident, many Saudis, particularly the security sector, were suspicious and distrustful of these organizations. There suspicions were justifiable, especially after an incident of this magnitude. However, this incident did not change anything in the conservative Saudi outlook, not even the official position on conservative religiosity. The incident of Juhayman shocked the religious sensibilities of society because it violated the three sanctities: time, place and blood. This also created a consensus among all segments of society on the repudiation of such incidents. There are other incidents that followed this incursion into the Holy Mosque and changed the attitude of Saudi society. The second Gulf War, Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait and fighting against Saudi forces has created much more change in society. Cultural and religious elites with different attitudes ranging from open-minded to conservative ones produced a change in the mental attitude of the ordinary
citizen towards the world around him. It proved to be a world teeming with conflicting views and ideas that he must deal with, especially after the launch of satellite channels, which created an unusual atmosphere of openness in a conservative society. Moreover, the immensity of the September 11 attacks, and the destruction of the two towers of the World Trade Center transformed the Saudi society more than all previous events in Saudi history, given that the majority of the perpetrators were Saudis. The transformation had to do with intellectual openness, pluralism and tolerance. More importantly, these events made the Saudis re-think their identity from political and social perspectives. They also tried to overcome this crisis while preserving the fundamental pillars of the state and society and closing the gaps that could be exploited by extremist groups to promote their ideas, out of fanatic religious motivations. Thus we have witnessed religious figures, both official and unofficial, who called for reviewing the religious discourse. We have also seen major social openness and unusual cultural mobility. Researcher, Jihadi movements and terrorism. 35
Of Scarecrows and Social Change
Going Round in Circles
The intellectual and social impact of “the coming of the Mahdi”
How did Juhayman impact the intellectual orientation of the Saudi Society?
The 1979 seizure of the Holy Mosque profoundly changed the Saudi Society. It is not clear, however, why this change happened the way it happened. Mansour El-Nogaidan
was ten years old when the Saudi radio broadcasted news about the seizure of the Holy Mosque by dozens of armed men led by Juhayman al-Otaibi. The radio said that these men had announced the coming of the Mahdi who would fill the earth with justice and end all the evils that dominated the face of the earth. In my hometown of Buraidah, the government quickly started to deploy armed security forces in neighbourhood alleys and the main streets. People started whispering inside their homes and with their friends. They talked about how Juhayman had used his black magic to make the demons of the underworld help him in his escape during the siege. They gossiped on how he transformed himself into different shapes: sometimes turning into an insect, and at other times turning into a spider to climbe walls, or turning into a beetle. Security men were tired of chasing him and even when they finally cuffed his hands and feet, he supposedly would have managed to uncuff himself and flee. But he was finally captured after God almighty disabled his magic. While the Saudi television showed a video clip of Juhayman in shackles and lying on a bed, I did not left my mothers' side. I was afraid and terrified by what I saw. The sight of Juhayman was engraved in my mind for many years. His face still haunts me in my dreams and causes me to panic and fear. For me, Juhayman has become a source of intimidation; a scarecrow that some mothers use to control their children if they became disobedient, did not do their homework, or did not go to sleep early. Before the siege ended, the identity of the dozens of perpetrators who seized the Holy Mosque - the Muslim World's largest mosque – was known to the police. They were Godfearing and devoted religious people. Most of them were Saudi citizens who came from known tribes and families. The others were Arab Muslims. That is why the people hated and despised them. Society came to be suspicious and fearful of religious people. Every bearded man wearing a short dress had lived a difficult time. He faced enormous pressure at home, in his neighbourhood, and at his work. Security forces were in a state of full alert, monitoring every movement, counting every breath, arresting anyone they found suspect. Months later, I was playing with the 20 November, 2009
other boys in the market when a car stopped outside the house of the Imam of our neighbourhood mosque. A man in his late thirties with a long beard wearing a short dress stepped out of the car. We exchanged looks and whispered to one another: perhaps he is one of them. At that time, many religious people were clean-shaven, either out of fear or in obedience to the wishes of their parents. Others abandoned the manifestations of devoutness that distinguished them from other people. Parents became really worried when they saw their children showing signs of religiousness. Some affluent families sent their children to study abroad. They wanted to protect them from being affected by such ideas. Given their resulting weakness, members of the "God Trusting Group" became the subject of mockery and derision. Across the Kingdom, people were calling them "Mohamed Luqafa" or "Mohammed the nosy-parker" who meddles in matters that does not concern him. At the height of antagonism, we, the young ones, were also infected with this hostility. If a car carrying one of the "God Trusting" members or one of their representatives passed in front of us, we would shout at them, curse them, and joke about their clothes and wide pants. Some of the girls refused to marry bearded guys. Mothers and girls were convinced that marrying one of those men would be nothing but a tale of continuous grief that only ended when they were dead and buried. In the 1950's, a U.S. diplomat who lived in Riyadh wrote in his memoirs: "The new generation of Saudis have distanced themselves from religion. They are no longer committed to fulfilling their religious duties and prayers". Before the seizure of the Holy Mosque people held a certain maxim that said: The more a man becomes religious, the more he grows feeble- minded and stupid. This was a bit surprising in a Whabist religious society that was just emerging from a period of religious awakening and ideological resurrection that lasted for two decades until the end of the 1920's. The Holy Mosque incident was a historic opportunity to reshape society by reconciling intellectual modernity with Islam, and to dry up the springs of extremism. Liberal social behaviour and the ensuing tolerance that has flourished since
the 1960's together with the dissipation of the influence of religious scholars and militants was further boosted by the events of the Holy Mosque. The moment was ripe for an intellectual openness that would speed and deepen the spontaneous religious retreat. In the three years following the tragic incident we were like clay in the hands of a sculptor. So what happened? Unlike what was expected, it seemed that a kind of religious resurrection started to emerge. The calculations of decision makers turned out to be totally wrong. Big attempts were made at the end of the 1960's and 1980's to Islamize the Saudi society. These attempts were led by the Muslim Brotherhood. They took control of public education and universities at the time when orthodox religious scholars were failing to understand the remarkable transformation that the country was going through. This transformation was done under the leadership of King Faisal. The turtles had already laid their eggs and the seeds had already been planted. And, when the impact of Juhayman's incident was gone and his movement was dissolved, those eggs hatched and the crops were ready to be harvested. Since 1984 Saudis have been living the story of the Islamic awakening. For nearly nine years, it was forbidden to mention the name of Juhayman. But at the end of the 1980's things changed. One of my friends announced that he was proud to be called "Abu Juhayman" (the father of Juhayman). Since 1989, Juhayman's ideas started to emerge once again. His letters were reprinted in Pakistan and smuggled from Yemen and Kuwait. In 1990 I argued with some friends about Juhayman and his group. Some of us were looking for excuses to what he did. We were clearly changing our perceptions of his ideas. In 1996 the Saudis overcame their weakness and started looking into their wound. One Saudi researcher wrote in the AlRiyadh newspaper about the dissention of the Holy Mosque and Juhayman al-Otaibi. After two decades of disregard and deliberate inattentiveness, Juhayman became an inspiration for al Qaeda fighters.
While the incident of the Holy Mosque greatly impacted Saudi society, it did not create as much change as other important events in the region.
In 1979, many events affected the region socially and politically. The most prominent of these were the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Iranian Revolution and the Juhayman Al-Otaiby's incursion into the Mecca Holy Mosque. These upheavals marked the beginning of what came to be known as a religious awakening in the region that overtook the entire society. Its roots date back farther than 1979 though. These three milestones combined led to a radical transformation of the Saudi policy. The Iranian Revolution sparked off a Saudi-Iranian conflict in which both countries derive legitimacy from religion. Thus each of them reinforced religious-political discourse at home and abroad. To do so, the Saudis supported Islamic preaching organizations abroad and promoted Islamist discourse at home. The Iranians elected to adopt the principle of exporting the revolution. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led to the emergence of an Afghani resistance that adopted the slogan of Jihad, leading to the mobilization of many non-Afghani young men in defence of the Afghani cause. Thus the Islamist discourse gained ground socially and was politically supported by the governments of all Islamic countries by all possible means. Even the US lent its support to the Afghan resistance and used it as a political card in its cold war with the Soviet Union. Yet, Juhayman Al-Otaiby's incursion into the Holy Mosque remained the most effective factor behind the domestic changes in Saudi Arabia. Before the incident of Juhayman's incursion the Saudi Arabia was not characterized by a closed or fanatic
Columnist and researcher on political Islam. 36
Dr Turki Al-Hamad
society. On the contrary, tolerance prevailed more than fanaticism and rejection of the other. I am very sure of this. I lived out the transformations which the Saudi society went through before and after Juhayman's armed movement. At the time of the incident the Saudi society was a Muslim society. Its members adhered to the Five Pillars of Islam (The five duties incumbent on every Muslim).
eign, was no longer there. For example, before that date the Saudi society was not so strict about certain issues such as those related to women and the mixing or separation of the sexes. It accepted the religious freedom of the other, as long as it did not affect its beliefs and behaviors. It did not treat others who had a different religion with such severity as had prevailed during the years of "Awakening".
They lived their lives according to the teachings of Islam. But it was not the kind of Islamic society that overloads its religion with things that God has nothing to do with, or did not order his worshipers to do. The Saudis did not politicize their religion to serve their interests. But after the movement of Juhayman was eliminated, the Saudi policy changed dramatically, by virtue of the other two factors. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan had its impact on "Islamic Awakening", and the Iranian revolution principles were embraced by many Saudi Shiites, allowing for an Iranian presence inside Saudi Arabia. The discourse of the "Islamic Awakening" movement became the official discourse of the state at a certain stage. The doors were wide open in front of the leading figures of the "Awakening" movement to Islamize the society. But the principles they preached were not different from those of Juhayman and his group. Based on this, we can say that Juhayman may have been physically liquidated, but had triumphed intellectually and culturally. Subsequently fanatic religious discourse prevailed in the kingdom. The society that existed before 1979 and was known for its tolerance of the different other, whether that other was local or for-
For three decades Saudi Arabia’s society was a prisoner of the "Awakening" discourse. Today, the Saudi society is trying to come back to its normal way of life as it was before, especially after its disillusionment with Islamic movements after the events of September 2001. The radical Islamist groups at home had carried out several military expeditions. It became obvious that the extremist line of thought will eventually lead to violence or at least pave the way for it, especially when those who commit such violent acts are promised an eternal life of comfort in Paradise. For thirty years the brains of young people have been continuously washed. Their minds have been continuously poisoned. A new generation has emerged that does not know anything about the tolerance and open mindedness of their fathers and ancestors. Saudi Arabia might take a long time to erase the impacts of the "assault" that was made on the souls and minds of its citizens. But as the Arabic proverb runs: "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step", and today Saudi Arabia is taking this step.
A Novelist and professor of political science. 37
Kevork Oskanian 20 November, 2009
Insurmountable Dilemmas The prospects of state-building in Iraq and Afghanistan Kevork Oskanian
Domestic pressures and local requirements are putting the Western powers in front of increasingly complex and apparently insurmountable dilemmas. The complications associated with statebuilding in both Afghanistan and Iraq may lead to these powers altogether abandoning statebuilding as a policy tool, leading to dramatic consequences both for the states involved, and their surrounding regions.
by-default have dramatically reduced the Karzai administration’s credibility, both domestically and abroad. Worse than that, these vacillations have added credence to the argument of the Taliban and their allies that the state being built in that country is essentially run by and for the benefit of the Western powers. The Iraqi government, on the other hand, can still only function in the safety of Bagdad’s ‘Green Zone’ – for all intents and purposes, a fortress under constant siege, publicly attesting to its continued dependence on Western support for its survival.
purely, about removing Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, and leaving these countries with reasonably secure – and not necessarily democratic – regimes, these aims might have been relatively more attainable. As it is, the West is, in essence, expected to perform the miracle of building democratic states from scratch, while the Taliban and Al Qaeda must, simply, bide their time while their adversaries’ societies become war-weary, and frustrated at their inability to institute democracy, demand to have their troops back.
Under such conditions, all it takes for opponents of the state-building projects to discredit these governments and demonstrate the helplessness of both themselves and their allies is to detonate a small number of powerful, well-placed and – timed bombs. Much of any state’s legitimacy rests on its ability to provide the ultimate public good – security. Take that away, demonstrate a government’s impotence in the face of its enemies, and the system risks collapse. Bakunin, Lenin and Castro knew it – so do Al Qaeda and the Taliban. And, as attacks in recent weeks have shown, both these organisations, and/or their local allies, are acting on that knowledge.
The dilemmas and complications enumerated above make the state-building effort seem increasingly Sisyphean, sufficiently complex to produce the quagmire that Western politicians see in their electoral nightmares
The focus on the electoral process observed over the past few months risks diverting attention from issues that are much more important to local populations – issues connected to economic survival and physical security. Moreover, to say elections are being held for the sake of the Iraqi and Afghan populations is only a half- (or perhaps even a quarter-) truth. The crucial question being asked by most commentators and analysts in the West is not as to the discontent or satisfaction of local populations; rather, the central issue is whether Western electorates would countenance sending their soldiers to fight – and die – for regimes that do not carry that all-important stamp of democratic legitimacy.
n both Iraq and Afghanistan, the holding of free and fair elections has remained a crucial standard of success for the Western powers throughout both interventions. Accordingly, every few years, politicians in North America and Western Europe cross their fingers while the world’s media ogle two of the world’s most fragile states with eagle eyes. 20 November, 2009
This crossing of fingers will have to be repeated quite often until Bagdad and Kabul are finally ruled by administrations that are both stable and representative of their societies – if that is at all possible. For in coming months and years, instituting democratic processes that are both stable and self-sufficient will challenge the already-thin patience of both Western leaders and their
electorates, and put policymakers before possibly irresolvable dilemmas - leading to potentially disastrous miscalculations in both AfPak and the Middle East. If anything, events over the past months have severely weakened the statebuilding project in Afghanistan. A highly flawed election, a humiliating climb-down and an eventual selection40
This arguably shows the extent to which Western governments have been unable to justify their forays into these foreign lands in terms of strategic necessity at home. Meanwhile, standards of success have been set high – securing functioning democratic states – while the means allocated to these ends have remained limited compared to the tasks at hand. If these wars had been defined as, Issue 1533
All of this naturally puts Western governments in front of a complex web of unpalatable dilemmas: for state-building to have any chance of succeeding, they would need immense resources which would have to be reallocated from deficit budgets in times of economic hardship. They would need free and fair elections that deficient institutions in fragile states are unable to provide in order to justify a military presence to Western constituencies. Even if these constituencies would countenance an increase in troop levels, decisionmakers would have to be at pains in ensuring that the Afghans and the Iraqis do not perceive their increased military footprints as threats. Simultaneously, the West would need considerable time to build states that provide security for their populations, in the face of bomb attacks that, in one second, destroy the trust and security built up over months and years of hard work. It is not difficult to see now, why the Obama administration is struggling with the decision on whether or not to increase troop strength in Afghanistan. The
dilemmas and complications enumerated above make the state-building effort seem increasingly Sisyphean, sufficiently complex to produce the quagmire that Western politicians see in their electoral nightmares. In fact, they might prove ultimately insurmountable, potentially discrediting the very notion of statebuilding through direct intervention as a phenomenon of international politics. While such state-building has been one of the prominent features of international relations after the Cold War, an increasing number of failures have already weakened its potency as a viable paradigm of international development. Fifteen years after the Dayton accords, the vulnerable stability in Bosnia still depends on the continued military presence of outside powers. East Timor’s UN-sponsored state-building experience eventually turned into a fiasco, rescued only through renewed Australian intervention. To an increasing extent, the successful experiences in post-World War Germany and Japan are coming to be seen as exceptional, the product of the particularly auspicious circumstances that existed in the immediate aftermath of World War Two, at the beginning of the Cold War. Failure in Afghanistan may cause policymakers to conclude that societies and states are, in general, too complex to be fashioned at will within a reasonable amount of time. In combination with the domestic political costs, withdrawal and containment may very well come to be seen as viable sub-optimal solutions to a knotty problem – with absolutely disastrous consequences for those countries that were the object of the failed state-building attempts in the first place: Afghanistan and Iraq. As it stands, the enormous consequences of such a move – in terms of instability in Pakistan and growing Iranian influence in the Gulf – are still sufficient for the Western powers to stick to the objective of constructing democracies in inhospitable terrain. The cost/benefit analysis is, however, inexorably moving towards withdrawal and abandonment. The question is increasingly shifting from whether to when it will tip in the latter’s favour.
London based researcher in security and West Asian politics 41
The Dream That Became
20 November, 2009
People - Profile
People - Profile
The Dream That Became A Nightmare Juhayman al-Otaibi The story of Juhayman, in many ways begins with the action that led to his death â€“ the Seige of Mecca. Understanding what took place in 1979 however would be incomplete with out a review of what drove this man to instigate an event that many claim would impact Saudi society for years to come.
he place: The courtyard of the Holy Mosque in Mecca. The time: the dawn of the first of Muharram 1400 A.H, 20 November 1979. The scene: Thousands of worshippers entering the Mosque, as they usually did every day, to perform the morning prayers, in one of the holiest spots on Earth. Dozens of mourners carrying coffins of the dead on their shoulders. Both the worshippers and the guards of the Mosque were overwhelmed by such a large number of dead people. But they thought nothing about it. They were accustomed to seeing coffins at the Holy Mosque. Many of those living near Mecca wished for the large number of worshipers at the Mosque to pray for their loved ones. However, this time there was something different. The coffins were filled with firearms and ammunition, which the (God Trusting Salafist Group), led by Juhayman al-Otaibi, had prepared for this day. Juhayman al-Otaibi and his brother- in- law, Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Qahtani, who claimed to be the Mahdi, stood before the worshipers in the Holy Mosque and announced to the people the news of the Mahdi, his flight from the "enemies of Allah". They told the people that he was ready to receive their pledge of allegiance between Hijr Ismael (a place at the Holy Mosque) and the Maqam (the stone in which Ibrahim stood while he was building the Kaaba) under the shadow of the Kaaba. Juhayman was not babbling. He was not insane. He was seeking to achieve his dream of leadership, which Qahtani, had told him he would achieve. He told Juhayman so when he confided in him that he had seen in his dreams that he, Qahtani, was the Mahdi! And that he will liberate the Arabian Peninsula and the whole world from evil-doers. Juhayman was obsessed with the idea of salvation when he decided to pledge allegiance to Qahtani at Hijr Ismael (a place at the Holy Mosque). He recalled some of the sayings of the Muslim prophet that confirmed that the siege will not last more than three days, and that the army which they will be fighting will come from Tabuk (a province in north western Saudi Arabia). But God will order the earth to swallow up the attacking army and a number of miracles will occur confirming that Mohammed al-Qahtani is really the Mahdi. Consequentially, millions of people would start pouring into Mecca to pledge allegiance to the Mahdi. Juhayman was so enraptured with these thoughts that he made every possible effort to turn this illusion into reality. He was determined to do so even of it meant facing the whole world. In front of this Juhaymani determination the Saudi security forces had nothing to do except besiege the Holy Mosque, which Juhayman and his followers seized, for seventeen days. This was not what Juhayman and his followers had expected.
20 November, 2009
They though that their mission would be an easy one. That only three days would pass before their leader's promise was fulfilled. The earth would swallow the security forces. But three days passed without anything happening to the security forces. No harm was done to them, and they were not swallowed by the earth. Juhayman and his followers fell into despair. They lost all of hope. And, after Qahtani killed himself, any dreams they might have had, started to vanish. Juhayman did not find a way to control his followers except by threatening to kill anyone who thought of disobeying him or even mentioning the death of the Mahdi. Juhayman could not bear the thought of losing his dream.
Juhayman was obsessed with the idea of salvation when he decided to pledge allegiance to Qahtani at Hijr Ismael . He recalled some of the sayings of the Muslim prophet that confirmed that the siege will not last more than three days He started spreading rumours that the Mahdi was trapped in the (basement), and that he would come out soon. But as they say, "a lie never lasts". It quickly became clear to everyone that Juhayman was lying. He lost control over his followers and did not know what to do. In the end, he surrendered with what remained of his followers in the basement of the Holy Mosque, after abandoning their posts at the top of the Mosque's minarets. The Saudi television broadcast was interrupted, and Nayef bin Abdul Aziz appeared on the screen. His face showed signs of fatigue accompanied by a hint of gladness. He announced that the basement of the Holy Mosque had been purified of all rebellious elements, drawing the curtain at the most difficult stages in the modern history of Saudi Arabia. The handful of perpetrators who profaned the sanctity of the ancient house were tried. King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz issued order No. 4207 / 2 stipulating the execution of the arrested members of Juhayman's gang who were involved in the seizure of the Holy Mosque. His orders included carrying out their execution in a number of different provinces, to make an example of them. On the same day 63 of those involved in the attack were executed: 15 in Mecca, 7 in Medina, 10 in Riyadh, 7 in Dammam, 7 in Buraidah, 5 in Hail, 7 Abha, 5 Tabuk. Juhayman
was one of those who received a death sentence. He was executed on 9 January 1980. Juhaymenâ€™s death closed the file of the first incident of religious extremism in Saudi Arabia led by the infamous Juhayman. He never expected his fate to end this way. Juhayman, who was born in 1936, and was known as Abu Mohammed, began his career as an ordinary employee at the Saudi National Guard for eighteen years. He stayed in his post from 1955 to 1973, until he finally left the army. He then moved to Medina, where he studied at the Islamic University and met with Muhammad ibn Abdullah Al-Qahtani, his future brother in-law. Juhayman's life went through a dramatic change after he met with Al-Qahtani. He started spreading their shared ideas in some small mosques in Medina. These ideas of salvation were positively received by some people. The group founded by Juhayman started to grow, until its members grew to the thousands. The Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Baz's gave his blessings for the foundation of the group in mid 1960s. The group at first was centrally controlled by a council that consisted of Nasser Bin Hussein, Suleiman Bin Shteiwi, Saad Tamimi, and Juhayman Al-Otaibi. But Juhayman's devoutness to preaching, the internal power that he felt, and his aspiriation for leadership, made him become the driving force of the group. He considered the massage of the group to be his own personal message. He believed that he alone had the right to be its leader. So he did not hesitate to drive his car to roam the villages in the eastern parts of Medina, preaching his message. Being obsessed with the idea of leadership, he suddenly transformed by anger. It was then, in 1978, that Juhayman and the members of the group were wanted, for the first time, by the Saudi authorities. Their contentious talk about revenging the Sebla brothers had become problematic. In the meantime, he was working on releasing several letters, and most importantly "the seven letters". These letters were concerned with principality, allegiance, obedience, exposing how the rulers of the Islamic world deceived scholars and common people - the later was a letter that he wrote defending the brothers who were in the army of the founder King - and lifting the confusion. These letters were printed in Kuwait. The leftist Kuwaiti magazine "Taleaa" issued a cheap edition of the books of Juhayman, which were smuggled across the northern border of the Kingdom by his followers, who disguised themselves as shepherds and hid the books under dry bread. Many, to this date, doubt that Juhayman had the intellectual capacity to write those infamous letters. But with his execution, his secrets were buried with him. What remains on Juhaymen is the memory of the event he created, and the impact that still endures in Saudi Society.
People - Interview
People - Interview escape and refusal to surrender himself based on his fear of meeting the same destiny faced by Ikhwanis before, like Sultan Bin Bijad and many others.
Juhayman’s Sins Nasser Al-Huzeimi: My story with the so-called Mahdi Thirty years later, Juhayman’s movement still leaves Saudi and Middle Eastern communities in a state of shock. Accordingly, many have linked modern extremist movements to Juhayman’s thought, while on the other hand many believe that Juhayman was but a man with a naive perception of the state. The Majalla has held an interview with Nasser Al Huezzeimi, the man who refused to pledge allegiance to Al Mahdi and refrained from storming the Holy Mosque.
Nasser Al-Huzeimi is a thinker who was witnessed the rise of Juhayman AlOtaibi, and even approached him from within his group to the extent that he came to define the smallest details of his personality and mentality. He watched closely the establishment stages of the Salafist movement, and knew everything that went on in their secret meetings, in addition to how Juhayman became the leader of the group. Hence, what Al-Huzeimi reveals about the initiation of the group, its establishment and the idea of salvation, may not be known to many. Al-Huzeimi says that Juhayman avoided other groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Jamaat Al Tablighia (Conveying Groups). He also sheds light on Juhayman's relationship with Sheikh Ibn Baaz and Sheikh AlAlbani, his shift from public to secret activities and how the idea of storming the Holy Mosque (Al-Haram) came to mind. Al-Huzeimi also highlights the nature of the Saudi society at the time of Juhayman the impact of the economic situation. 40
20 November, 2009
The aforementioned assumption was not endorsed by social studies, but we note that Juhayman grew up in an urbanized area of the desert called Sager. Sager was one of the settlements of the Brotherhood that were established under the rule of King Abdul Aziz for housing nomads. These settlements were a center for teaching nomads religious sciences. Later on, Sager got involved in a battle against King Abdul Aziz in Sabala, and accordingly Juhayman was affected by the conflict, since Juhayman's father, Muhammed ben Saif had migrated to Sager earlier and thus involving Juhayman in the first generation of settlers. However, Juhayman remained loyal to his tribe and Sager was just a place to live in. He never forgot that he belonged to the desert all throughout growing up. He was more a nomad than an urbanized person. The Majalla: Was there a relationship between the urbanized desert area to
which Juhayman belonged in Sager and the Brotherhood? I was introduced to a lot of Ikhwanis by Juhayman in the 1970s who participated in robberies, which were of course of old. They told us in their meetings tales of the Brotherhood, Jihad and miracles of Ikhwanis during Jihad. They considered these tales as the second stage of Salaf tales including the conquests of Sahaba (Prophet Muhammed's companions) and the like. These tales were noticeable in their culture and deeply rooted in their mentality. The Majalla: Did these tales affect their subconscious? Yes, certainly these tales had a direct effect on them. Even in Juhayman's later acts and stances, we noticed that he took into consideration incidents that had happened to the Brotherhood earlier. For instance, when Juhayman was wanted by the Saudi security forces around 1398 A.H., he justified his 46
The Majalla: Juhayman worked in the National Guard, and joined the Islamic University. When did he start thinking of establishing the "Salafist Group”? He founded the Salafist group by the year 1965 A.D. He was oscillating between Al Jamaat Al Tablighia and groups of almost semi-nomadic people from the old Ikhwanis who were still alive. He started his activities before 1965 A.D. After 1965, six men met together, the most prominent of them were Nasser ben Hussain, Sulaiman ben Shteiwi, Saad al-Tamimi and Juhayman Otaibi. They all agreed to establish the Salafist Group. Nearly two of them belonged to Al Jamaat Al Tablighia, one of whom, Suleiman Shteiwi, was a salafist who received learning at the feet of Sheikh Nasser Aldin Al-Albani and the other was Juhayman. Juhayman was still oscillating between the Salafist movement and Tablighi group. As we know, the Al Jamaat Al Tablighia do not focus on Tahweed (monotheism). This group rather focuses its preaching on renunciation, good manners and fair exhortation without any clashes with the authorities. The six men agreed. I only remember four of them because I forgot the names of two of them. But one of them might have died before he joined the group and the other one was excluded because he was a member in the Muslim Brotherhood. He wanted to deviate from the Salafist course of preaching and adopt the approach of Muslim Brotherhood. In brief, this group went to Sheikh Abdul Aziz ben Baaz who was then in Medina. They met him and told him that they wanted to establish a preaching group that would tread in the footsteps of the righteous predecessors, fight heresies in religion, and judge by the Holy Quran and the Prophet's Sunna. Sheikh Abdul Aziz ben Baaz asked them about the name of this group and they answered him that they chose the name, "Salafist group". He told them as long as they relied in their exhortation on God, they would call their group "God-Trusting Salafist Group". Thus, the group adopted that name from that time on. The name meant that the group expected to get rewarded Issue 1533
by God alone for their actions. And so the group was publicly launched as an Islamic preaching group. The group's first headquarters was a house in the area of El-Hora El-Sharqyia, which Shaykh Ibn Baaz rented for them. It was a large house with a place for giving lectures and lessons (a courtyard), in addition to many other rooms. Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Baaz and some Sheikhs (religious leaders) from Medina attended these lessons, including Sheikh Abu Bakr El-Gaziaary. And so the group became one of the Salafist groups devoted solely to God. Its arguments were based entirely on the doctrine of the righteous predecessors and Sahih Hadiths (trusted sayings of the Prophet which have an authentic line of narrators up to the Prophet and free from anomalies or defects). They advocated a pure form of monotheism, and fought all kinds of heresies in religion. The group had its own Shura Council (consultative council), which would meet and discuss things in private without the knowledge of Bin Baaz and the other sheikhs. The Majlla: How did Sheikh Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani influence the path of the group? Did he play a role in choosing the group's path? The Salafist trend suggested by Sheikh Albani became an essential part of the Salafist concept of the group. It is a concept based on the rejection of sectarianism, the upholding of the right sayings of The Prophet, and the purification of the Sunnah (the sayings and living habits of The Prophet) from weak and wrong Hadiths. Thus, the right Salafi ideology and the Salafi way of understanding monotheism became the substantial equivalent which the group was compelled to embrace. Their concept of monotheism and faith was taken from the books of Salafist religious scholars, particularly those of Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab, Shaykh Ibn Taymiyah, and Sheikh Ibn al-Qayyim. Their rejection of sectarianism and weak Hadiths, was probably taken from the writings of Sheikh Mohammed Nasser al-Albani, and his disciples. Hence, the group's concept of Salafism was based on a combination of the concepts of those two schools of thought. The Majalla: The group started as a public group. When did they start their secret activities and begin recruiting followers?
The group started as a public group, because its rationale was based on reminding people of true Islam. At that time there was no prohibition, or any law that prevented the formation of any kind of Islamic groups, as long as theses groups did not affect the important issues of monotheism or form a threat to national security. As a result, there were various Islamic groups, as well as preachers who were known to be affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist Group. Any underground work by the group was done on a very limited scale, such as meetings of the Shura Council. The Majalla: How had these secret meetings evolved in the phase of mobilizing followers, especially at the end of 1970s? And how come there were a large number of young people from various parts of the Kingdom among the group's followers? The group began with a small number of followers. Most of them were students at the Islamic University and scientific institutes. However, the group started to grow. Instead of having a single house in El-Hora El-Sharqyia, the group now had a second house: that of the Muslim Brotherhood in Mecca. Some of the members of the Muslim Brotherhood were living at that second house. They were mostly students at the Institute of Holy Mosque in Mecca. After that the Muslim Brotherhood house in Riyadh was founded. I remember that the justification for the establishment of the houses was to further expand the group. This was before 1398 A.H. The Muslim Brotherhood's first house was founded in Riyadh, and then they established a second house in Manfuha beside Alroehl mosque. A third house was established in Al-Qanam Street. To my knowledge, the Muslim Brotherhood now had three houses in Riyadh, one in Jeddah, and one in Taif. But the group continued to grow. It now had various supporters. Some of them even considered themselves as part of the Salafist Group, while others were devoted supporters. Also, at that time, by 1398 A.H/1979 A.D, the group managed to attract "many people", particularly from Al Jamaat Al Tablighia (Conveying Groups). The Majalla: But when did those large numbers of followers start to join the group? This happened after 1398 A.H/1979 A.D, following the first arrest conducted 47
People - Interview against the group. A false report was submitted to the authorities claiming that the group had an arsenal of weapons. Nevertheless, the State confirmed that the report was vexatious and untruthful. The Majalla: Was it easy to join the group? Were there any kind of restrictions that prevented anyone from becoming a member? The group had none of the restrictions found in other groups. It did not adopt the method of hierarchical ordering. To join the group, one only needed to be a scholar or a seeker of knowledge, and to obey its leader - Juhayman at that time. These were mostly the qualifications needed to join the group. But after Juhayman became wanted by the security authorities, the group became more careful in choosing the elements wishing to join it. Anyone from outside could join the group, but could not have access to many of the secrets of the group, such as the publications that were printed in Kuwait. Not many members in the group knew how these publications were printed, how they were smuggled in and out, or how Juhayman was contacted. Many of them did not know how to contact Juhayman, and who represented the linkage between them and Juhayman, and so on. The Majalla: You said there were four founders. What was the status of the group from its beginning until Juhayman became the leader? What were his distinguishing qualities? At the beginning Juhayman was not the leader of the group, yet the group went through several phases. At first Juhayman was on good terms with the four founders and the Shura Council, such as Ahmed Hassan al-Moallem and Sheikh Adil Mazrui and they all agreed on certain issues. But what happened was that Juhayman was the real leader of the group, although this was not declared, he was the most visible one of the four. He led the group in Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). He drove his car to attend Zikr sessions (sessions of spiritual rites), which made him very popular. As soon as it was known that he was in the city, everybody started asking about him. On the contrary, no one for example, asked about Solomon El-Shetiwe, Saad Al-Tamimi, or Nasser Bin Hussein, everyone asked about Juhayman. After a period Juhayman took control of the group, in the sense that he began to put the group in difficult situations that often led to its being 20 November, 2009
People - Interview reprimanded or its preachers receiving negative comments on their speeches. The Majalla: Is it possible to say that Juhayman had a tendency from the very beginning to become the leader of the group? Yes, of course. Juhayman was the informal leader. He sought to become the actual leader. He named himself the leader of the group, took leadership of the group and, he very well deserved to be so. He always made initiatives, moved a lot, and devoted all his time to the group, unlike, for example, the remaining three founders mentioned earlier. These three were teachers and had little time to spend in preaching for Islam. At that time, people only had a holiday on Friday, and the only spare time they had was during summer vacation. This highlights the difference between a man who devoted himself to the cause during the entire year, and a group of people who were busy doing their job. The Majalla: The first clash between the Salafist group and security forces occurred in 1398 A.H. What was the nature of this clash, and how did it happen? Actually, there was no clash, but a series of arrests that included the group's prominent figures in all places, and then Juhayman fled. The Majalla: What was the cause of the arrests? It was a vexatious report, and we heard at the time that the man who wrote it was reprimanded because he mentioned that this group had stores full of weapons. The Majalla: Let's move on to the main idea that was adopted by Juhayman for his movement, and that is the seizure of the Holy Mosque in Mecca. Who was the source of this idea at the beginning? And how did the idea of seizing the Holy Mosque occur to the Salafist group? The case of entering the Holy Mosque in Mecca is originally linked to the expected Mahdi issue. They entered the Mosque because they had a scenario for the course of the group, after swearing allegiance to Mohammed Abdullah Al-Mahdi (Muhammad Abdullah Al Qahtani). They adopted the scenario from the
apocalyptic books of Dissentions and Signs of Doomsday. This scenario states that "The man swears allegiance at the corner of the Mosque, and this man performs a sit-in there and then an army comes from Tabuk only to be destroyed. Then this man comes out of the Holy Mosque, travels to Medina and fights the Antichrist.” Later on, he leaves Medina and travels to Palestine and fights the Jews there and kills them. Jesus Christ then comes back to break the cross and kill the swine. Afterwards, they will go to Syria and pray at the Umayyad Mosque and then Doomsday will occur. This is the scenario of the group according to the books of Dissentions and Signs of Doomsday. But three days later, it became clear that Al-Mahdi was killed in the Holy Mosque. Juhayman also refused to believe that Mahdi was killed, and refused to declare that Mahdi was killed. He forced the group to deny his killing, boycotted them and poured his wrath on those who said Mahdi was killed. He also said that Mahdi could not be killed, but he was only surrounded at the Holy Mosque and would eventually come out. Of course this was an illogical vision, and almost occurred to them because of their obsession with the idea of salvation through the Mahdi. The Majalla: We can say that the group was primarily obsessed, controlled and motivated by a metaphysical idea of salvation, nonexistant in reality but was derived from books of dissentions, legends and metaphysical thoughts. They tried to translate these thoughts into reality, didn't they? This is an accurate diagnosis and in fact true because this group originally did not have a project for an Islamic state, as we find in groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood or the Liberation Party. This group had the issue of Mahdi rooted in their mentalities; they followed the doctrine that reiterates that the nation's salvation would be through Al-Mahdi, not by establishing a state. The Majalla: You were not among those who entered the Holy Mosque in Mecca although you were with the Salafist group? Six months before the incident of
storming in the Holy Mosque and swearing allegiance to Mahdi, the group split; one group was not convinced that Mohammed Abdullah Al-Qahtani was the Mahdi and did not also believe in carrying arms inside the Holy Mosque, and I was among this group which was not convinced of entering the Mosque. The Majalla: This means that the idea emerged 6 months before storming the Holy mosque? The idea of Mohammed Abdullah AlQahtani was discussed one year before breaking into the Holy Mosque. It was based on the belief of some that Mohammed Abdullah Al-Qahtani was the expected Mahdi, because his name was Mohammed Abdullah Al Qahtani, it matched the characteristics mentioned in the religious texts. The texts say that his name and his father's name must match those of Prophet Muhamed (PBUH). He also had a short nose and a tight forehead and was a descendant of the Prophet's family. Based on these features, it was said that Mohammed Abdullah Al-Qahtani was the Mahdi. Things continued like this and 6 months before their breaking into the Holy Mosque a rebellion happened. As a result, we announced that we did not believe in the Mahdi cause. The Majalla: Speaking about the Islamic groups and movements, you mentioned earlier in your speech that there was a man from the Muslim Brotherhood who withdrew from founding this group. What is the relationship between the Salafist group and other Islamic movements like the Muslim Brotherhood, the Jamaat Al Tablighia and Islamic movements? In his letter "Removing the Confusion", Juhayman tried to diagnose his attitude towards these groups, and found it relatively naïve. He opposed the Muslim Brotherhood because of their interest in politics, and blamed the missionary group because of their lack of interest in preaching for monotheism. The same goes for their vision of other groups.
Juhayman acted with a retaliatory vision, influenced by what had happened to the Brotherhood in Sebla. By the way, he often repeated that the Muslim Brotherhood members who were at Sebla were wrongfully killed and considered them martyrs. This was his vision and he often repeated it. So I believe that Juhayman developed the revolutionary and revengeful attitude earlier, but he needed a legitimate reason for the group to accept it. The Majalla: But what was the attitude of Juhayman towards the society he lived in, and towards the state? Did he accuse it of apostasy, did he cope with it, or did he live isolated? Of course Juhayman did not reconcile with his society for several reasons: his character was originally nomadic; society in general was moving towards civilization while the nomadic character of Juhayman opposed this aspect. Moreover, Juhayman saw that this society was showing signs that Doomsday was looming. Juhayman believed that dissentions overwhelmed the whole society. Juhayman specified the types of seditions in the Letter of Dissention and Signs of Doomsday: banknotes which resemble photos, television, etc. These dissentions were widespread and accordingly he developed a negative attitude towards this issue both at the levels of society and state. In addition, Juhayman opposed working for the government and believed a governmental job would prevent you from saying the truth. He believed that as long as one took a salary from the state, one wouldn't not be able confront it with the truth. The Majalla: Is it possible to say that Juhayman was an intellectual extension of the nomadic group of Brothers in God's Obedience? Or did he follow a different path?
They criticize the Muslim Brotherhood for keeping a low-profile but the truth is that their secrecy is almost the same as that of the Salafist Group.
Juhayman was almost an intellectual extension of this group, with some additions. If you read the literature of the Muslim Brotherhood in cases of monotheism and faith, you will find it the same literature of the group of Brothers in God's obedience, but with the addition of new issues. These issues included the Prophet's traditions, and repudiating sectarianism.
The Majalla: After this analysis, was Juhayman a rebellious personality, a religious utopian or was he both? Juhayman almost had the two qualities, the rebellious and the utopian character.
The Majalla: Some people try to link Juhayman’s movement and modern extremist groups that have emerged recently along with Jihadist tides. They also say that Juhayman’s
movement paved the way for these recent movements. In general, we can not say that recent groups are an extension of Juhayman’s thought for several reasons. The most important one is that Juhayman's thought is based on spiritual salvation and does not have a project for establishing a state. If you look at Juhayman's letters, you will find him talking about the Mahdi establishment of the state of justice, but where are the details? There are not any, unlike the case of current groups such as al Qaeda, they talk about establishing a state and the stages they would go through. They create chaos to force the other side to recognize their right to establish a state. However, they do not have a project for this state. I do not believe that the current groups, especially the jihadist or extremist ones are similar to the Juhayman group. I always say that Juhayman's influence on the groups that followed him was a temporary one. The Majalla: After arresting and killing Juhayman, are there any people who still believe in the idea of salvation? Or did it end with the demise of Juhayman? The idea of salvation in general had ended as soon as Al-Mahdi was assassinated. But some people are fanatic in their belief in Mahdi. Two of them were with us in the group and until now we mock them because they believed Mahdi was not killed but managed to escape and lives in the mountains of Yemen. But this talk has become naive, especially after the incident at the Holy Mosque. The Majalla: What do you think of the incident of attacking the Holy Mosque? There was a global rejection of this incident because it happened in the most sacred place for Muslims. The incident occurred in the sacred month of Muharram, in the sacred city of Mecca, and resulted in the shedding of Muslim blood. The incident was so hideous that everyone condemned it. Even most of the Islamic sects refused these acts. No Islamic group issued a statement to support the attack against the Holy Mosque.
Interview conducted by Khaled Abdullah Al Mushawah 49
Economics Arab Economics
The Times They are
A-changing 20 November, 2009
Economics - Arab Economics
Economics - Arab Economics
The Times They Are A-changing
All sensible economists, development specialists or policymaking gurus would support King Abdullah’s valuation of education as one of the pillars of a healthy economy and society. To support this position, they would probably allude to the role education in the economic rise of Germany in the 19th century; they would highlight education’s contribution in bringing South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan to the forefront of economic development; and finally underline China’s massive efforts in education in the fields of science, technology and engineering as the source of its fulgurant economic emergence. With a youth unemployment rate of around 20 percent and a lack of economic diversity, Saudi Arabia would benefit greatly from similar educational spillovers.
Saudi Arabia Economics and Education Daniel Capparelli
King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, addresses guests during the inauguration of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
© Getty Images
ince its inception, ARAMCO has been a synonym for change and economic progress in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-American agreement leading to its establishment in 1933, created not only what has come to be today the largest oil corporation in the world, but also an engine for social change and economic development in Saudi Arabia. It was, for instance, with the company’s petrodollars that, following the first oil-shock, then Crown-Prince Faisal financed a much needed infrastructure revolution and the creation of the industrial centres of Yanbu and Jubail in the 1970s. For the first time, and from then on, capital started flowing to social and economic projects, stimulating business development and laying the groundwork for the diversification of the Saudi economy. The fact that ARAMCO and its pet projects do not always play by the same rules as other Saudi institutions also means that the company serves as a “change incubator” in Saudi Arabia; as a “trial and error” mechanism for economic and social transformation. This is why there was no better candidate than ARAMCO to bring King Abdullah’s dream from paper to reality. This dream, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), was designed and executed to serve 20 November, 2009
as one of the main motion wheels behind the conversion of Saudi Arabia’s oil-based economy into a knowledgebased-economy. Worldwide, scholars and businesspersons alike have hailed this new graduate institution as potentially one of the region’s most significant socio-economic events of the year. They might not be wrong. KAUST is indeed path breaking. By any standards, the institution innovates and brings to the region the best practice in most aspects of higher education. KAUST has not only adopted the best practices in administration techniques, but also when designing its academic curriculum. Furthermore, unlike the typical Saudi University, KAUST is independent from the Ministry of Higher Education. This means that administrative procedures, pedagogy and research were designed on and are driven by scientific standards rather than political considerations. A more symbolic aspect of KAUST – and keeping in line with ARAMCO’s philosophy – is that classes are co-educational, introducing for the first time a more gender-neutral and dynamic pedagogic approach in the Kingdom’s higher-education landscape. The promise of KAUST goes beyond its structural qualities, however. On
top of an endowment of US$10 billion, KAUST has also secured a five-year partnership with three globally prominent American Universities. Among other things, the US$ 25 million partnership comprised the participation of Berkley’s Engineering Department, Stanford’s Institute of Computational and Mathematical Engineering and the University of Texas’s Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences in the development of KAUST’s academic curriculum. The agreement also includes a provision whereby academic staff interchange is stimulated and each of the partner universities is to receive US$ 5 million to carry out research in KAUST’s campus. If this would already be considered as laudable for, let’s say, French Universities, for Saudi Arabia’s educational system KAUST is a considerable gust of fresh air. Indeed, in strategic terms, Saudi research, education and the economy in general are the first to benefit from the circumvention of Ministry directives such as a March 2009 circular explicitly proscribing education officials (including academics) from “any direct communication with foreign parties or cooperation with diplomatic missions or international organizations in the Kingdom.” 52
The multiplication of KAUST-like educational institutions could bring Saudi Arabia and the whole Middle East region closer to such developmental path. King Abdullah seems to have fully grasped this rationale. Saudi Arabia needs to start its economic transition, not because of dwindling oil reserves, but because a diversified economy is less vulnerable to external shocks, more vigorous, but above all, because it is more efficient in increasing the welfare of its citizens. Quality education is the key input to incite such transition.
competition is not only the best way of diffusing knowledge, but more importantly, competition also lies at the centre of technological and economic progress. As such, the educational process must be carried out in a culture of competition. KAUST does just that: access to and evaluation of performances by educational institutions must be based on competency, not personal connections or political considerations.
Educational institutions such as KAUST address the very needs of a diversified economy by creating both highly qualified professionals and, more importantly, competent and dynamic individuals. This is the essence of what economists fancifully call human capital.
Educational institutions that observe this philosophy end up creating more than qualified professionals; they create dynamic and innovative individuals that are able and willing to adapt to a changing and progressing environment. As Hayek further noticed, in many cases what explain economic and social stagnation is not the lack of universitytrained specialists, but rather the “inadequate output of men of really top quality.” This problem can only be solved by instigating sound work ethics in individuals; this type of work ethics can only be instigated through a competitive and meritorious environment.
On a more down-to-earth level, educational institutions must also work hand in hand with the business community to help address their real-life problems. KAUST, for instance, interacts with business in two main ways: by facilitating access to R&D facilities, and by providing access to capital. In its first function, KAUST works as a Business Incubator, by assisting business in the conversion of high-tech research projects into viable commercial ventures. In its second function, KAUST’s Industrial Collaboration Program aims at introducing start-up companies to world-class companies and their more diversified sources of capital.
Educational institutions such as KAUST thus have an indispensable role to play in the creation of a dynamic, diversified and vibrant economy. Nevertheless they cannot achieve results on their own. First, the private and public sector must exist in, and operate through, a competitive and meritorious environment. People must be hired and let go based on competency criteria, not on political or arbitrary ones. Second, KAUST itself must also operate in a context of competition. Universities and research institutions are at their best when there are incentives to improve the quality and relevance of their research and dispensed education.
The role of education also goes beyond its obvious face value. As Economics Nobel Laureate Friedrich Augustus von Hayek suggested half a century ago,
KAUST is the first of what hopefully will be many of this new type of institution. The multiplication of high quality and dynamic educational and research
institutions will not only benefit society as a whole, but also these institutions own growth and development. The easiest way of achieving this is to open the Saudi higher education sector to foreign competition. This virtuous cycle has already been set in motion throughout the region, with the exception of Saudi Arabia. Opening the higher education sector to foreign competition will not only increase the availability of quality education to a broader public, but will also create internal incentives for all universities in Saudi Arabia to strive to be at the forefront of administrative and academic innovation. KAUST and its emulation have the potential of being one of the central pillars of a new and diversified economy. The role and singularity of ARAMCO is crucial for this. Although tradition for the sake of tradition can be nefarious for society and the economy, history teaches us that too much change too fast can produce backlashes. ARAMCO and its “change incubator” function have thus a crucial role to play in avoiding the appearance of new “Angry Faces” and making sure social change takes place in increments, in a trial and error fashion. In this sense, change and tradition must progress hand in hand. But tradition for the sake of tradition should be set aside when more efficient ways of attaining identifiable objectives, such as economic diversity and dynamism, have been developed. Tradition, therefore, should not stand in the way of the existence and emulation of KAUST. Saudi Arabia has much to gain from the spread of institutions such as KAUST, but the government must be aware that educational institutions are not panacea, they cannot achieve their potential in a policy vacuum. Paradoxically, filling this vacuum more often than not means decreasing, not increasing, government industrial activism and economic intervention. 53
Economics - International Investor
Shifting the Benchmark Bond Markets Provide Regional Liquidity
While banks continue to be strained in terms of lending, governments and corporations in the Middle East are turning to the bond markets for their financing needs. Even though it is principally the most creditworthy entities that are able to access funds, the success of recent capital raises in the bond market has brought renewed confidence to the region and may be an indication of greater near term capital market liquidity and economic stabilization.
lobally, the post-crisis economic environment has considerably increased reliance on the bond market. Governments are financing record amounts of stimulus that is being released into domestic economies. Corporations, unable to access credit from banks due to continued weakness amongst financial institutions, have come to rely on alternative forms of financing. In an unprecedented shift, current trends indicate that corporations will raise more capital from the bond markets than from syndicated loans in 2009. Such reliance on alternative forms of financing is especially visible in the Gulf region. As Dubai continues its $20 billion capital raise to shore up liquidity and meet debt obligations, the government now has its focus on the bond markets; Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum has made strong public statements in support of Dubai’s bond issuances. In the largest Islamic bond offerings this year in the Gulf, Dubai’s government raised $1.93 billion in October and is back in the market again in November. Other governments in the region have successfully issued bonds this year as well: Abu Dhabi had very strong investor demand for its $3 billion issuance in April, with reports of the issue being four times oversubscribed; Qatar completed a $3 billion issuance in April; and Bahrain came to the market with a $750 million issue in June. Other regional governments have also moved forward with issuances of bonds. Corporate bond markets have also been active in 2009. To highlight one deal in particular that reflects renewed regional confidence, the $850 million issuance by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi executed in September became the first dollar denominated benchmark sale by a Gulf lender since 2007. According to Reuters, the deal was nearly five times oversubscribed and distribution was geographically dispersed, with 71 percent of buy20 November, 2009
porations are also finding willing investors. Although the most successful issues continue to be to those corporations with governmental ties, firms across the Gulf region are showing signs of resilience after the economic downturn. Third quarter earnings began to stabilize, and if the fourth quarter continues this trend, credit should start to flow more freely in the region.
Rajeev Sibal ers coming from outside the Middle East and North Africa region. The strength of this issue and similar ones reflects the same confidence seen in the sovereign bond issuances regarding regional economic stabilization. Furthermore, two multi-lateral development banks have also helped soften the market for bond issuances. The Islamic Development Bank successfully issued an $850 million Sukuk in September. The book was oversubscribed and sold not only to investors in the Gulf Cooperation Council but also in Europe and Asia. Similarly, in October, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) listed a 5 year $100 million Sukuk with the Nasdaq Dubai and Bahrain stock exchanges. The IFC Hilal Sukuk is aimed at attracting investors to the Gulf Region. The funds will target Islamic finance projects in health, education, and infrastructure. These successful transactions should serve as a conduit for continued attraction of international investors to the region. Certainly oil revenues help mitigate investor risk and can directly be linked to the entities best able to raise capital. However, the nature of risk appetite we are witnessing demonstrates investor confidence in the long-term prospects of the broader, diversified regional economy. The successful issuances by the governments of Bahrain and Dubai reflect continued investment in non-oil based economies. Banks and regional cor-
While the active bond market does reflect improved market sentiment, problems remain. The Gulf region continues to face challenges similar to those cited by economists and investors before the financial crises. Reliance on local investors, weak institutional demand, and transparency hamper the broader development of capital markets in the region. These weaknesses are especially exacerbated in the current economic environment because of continued hesitance on the part of local investors who have suffered major losses after the dramatic fall in asset prices that occurred last year. The problems caused by these structural faults are increasingly visible when one compares capital flows to the Gulf with those to Latin America and East Asia; economies in the latter two regions have attracted greater amounts of capital in recent months.
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As international investors continue to diversify, waiting for the U.S., U.K., and Europe to handle the economic challenges beset upon them by the financial crises, the Middle East, and the Gulf region particularly, will continue to attract capital through the bond markets. Capital raised from the bond markets presents opportunities to inject liquidity into the regional economy and help stimulate the flow of credit. The success of bond issuances in 2009 coupled with the continued troubles facing banks indicates that this trend will continue in 2010. Rajeev Sibal - London based researcher specializing in finance and the political economy of emerging markets. 54
Economics - Markets Dhaka, Jakarta and Manila are among the major cities in Asia most at risk from climate change factors such as violent storms and rising seas, according to a report by the environmental group WWF 0
Overall vulnerability Exposure to climate change Ability to adapt to climate change* Impact on population / economy Shanghai
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City
M A L AY S I A
© GRAPHIC NEWS
Source: World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
Regulatory Reform in the Middle East
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown declared at a weekend meeting of the Group of 20 financial leaders in Scotland that London is no longer opposed to a tax on banks to fund future bailouts. US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, however, highlighted that the US was in principle opposed to a day-by-day financial transaction tax, even if it was keen to find new ways of recouping the costs of such bailouts.
Afghans blame poverty for conflict
Afghans overwhelmingly see poverty and unemployment as the major cause of the conflict in their country, a survey by Oxfam has revealed
MAIN DRIVING FORCES OF CONFLICT Responses of 704 Afghans* Poverty and unemployment
Corruption and ineffective government 48% Taliban
Other countries Al Qaeda
18% 18% Presence of international forces 17% Lack of support from international community 15% 14%
2% Source: Oxfam 20 November, 2009
Warlords Criminal groups Other reasons
*Multiple responses were permitted – figures not cumulative Picture: Getty Images
© GRAPHIC NEWS
International Bank Tax A World Bank report released this moth states that the Middle East and North Africa are heavily penalized by the “discretionary and arbitrary implementation of policies”. The report highlights that private investors are often deterred from investing in the region because of the lack of credibility of governments and regulatory agencies as well as the chronic discriminatory treatment of investors. According to the report, the resulting underinvestment is a significant drag on badly needed job creation and economic growth.
20 November, 2009
Reviews - Books
Reviews - Readings
The Die is Cast
Chances Are: Adventures in Probability Michael Kaplan and Ellen Kaplan Penguin Group 2006
A book that studies probability not just as a science, but as a way of life that many fail to notice and make use of.
The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran Hooman Majd Knopf Doubleday Publishing July 2009 In this book, Majd, the grandson of an eminent ayatollah, the son of an Iranian diplomat, and himself an American journalists paints a portrait of a country that is fiercely proud of its Persian heritage. He describes how this perception is affected by its outsider status, Majd reveals the paradoxes inherent in the Iranian society that continues to baffle the international community.
The Making of Modern Jordan: Tribes, Colonialism and the Modern State
verything is subject to testing including the intangible. Michael and Ellen Kaplan argue that probability is a tool by which "Fortune Favors the Bold" and a way through which randomness can be overcome. Our daily lives are overwhelmed with endless possibilities, and "Chances Are" provides far more than just observations on this matter. This is a book that links the work of many thinkers together delivering a cohesive outlook on probability.
statistics, but more so an enjoyable read, that sheds light in areas where probability plays a significant role. The book also uses exemplification in many of its chapters, to both captivate the reader and demonstrate the pragmatic value of probability. Moreover, the book adds a philosophical edge to its academic value by posing challenging questions, that makes one's mind wonder and concurrently proves that statics and probablility are able to provide us with answers.
"Chances Are" is original in its ability to portray the field of statistics its due importance in a modern and intriguing fashion. Supported by many algorithms, mathematical formulas and statistical charts, the book demonstrates how probability plays an important role in people's daily lives. Probability has evolved from being a gaming method where imposters and tricksters thrived, to a science based on numeric values and calculations. The book shows the beginning of probability as a simple dice toss, and further digresses into how different thinkers built on it reaching ample ways to calculate the odds of something happening or not.
The Book starts by discovering the different possibilities that could take place, even the far fetched ones. According to Michael and Ellen Kaplan, even faith is subject to probability testing, for the mathematical demonstrations and the uncertainty of belief can intersect. Hence, thinkers such as Pascal, Aristotle and Cardano, embarked on a continuous search of ultimate truths even in questions that do not have logical explanations. Many mathematical formulas are assembled in the book building up to more accurate testing of probabilities. Bayes' theorem for example (including the bell curve) uses experience as means of measuring confidence in the probability of a single event very efficiently.
One of the book's aims is to demonstrate how the use of statistics and probability in many fields can produce optimum results. The book does this by a chronological development of the field itself, in a well written and at many times, humorous manner. The book is not a text book that is meant to teach the field of 20 November, 2009
Of the many examples that the book offers, a few stood out. For example, the book shows how the bell curve can be used in presenting legal arguments during court trials throughout one of its chapters. Accordingly, conclusions were
reached on the conduct of lawyers and Judges. Furthermore, the book very interestingly portrays how probability can be used to decrease death percentages and how contestants can optimize their chances in winning particular games. On one hand, Michael and Ellen Kaplan seem to have achieved a balance between the mathematical material their book is based on and a descriptive narrative, keeping the reader attentive at all times. However, the book could be criticized for including too much mathematical and statistical material that would not only disinterest a large sector of readers, but bee to difficult to grasp by many others. The book also occasionally tends to use over sophisticated descriptions that either don't fit the literary context or cause confusion amidst the statistical build up. The book eventually reiterates that despite the many formulas that have been constructed to calculate possibilities and chances, none is fool proof and uncertainty remains as an undeniable fact. Since, "Probability shows that there are infinite degrees of belief between the impossible and the certain", one should always pursue means by which the most accurate answers can be reached. This accordingly should take place by reasoning and examining this reasoning, not to reach certainty, but to achieve forms of "uncertainty that are better than others". 60
Yoav Alon IB Tauris and Company December 2009 Drawing on previously untapped sources, Yoav Alon examines how the disparate clan networks of Jordan were integrated into the Hashemite monarchy. Looking at the growth of key state institutions from a grassroots perspective, Alon shows how they co-opted the structures of tribal society, and produced a distinctive hybrid between modern statehood and tribal confederacy which still characterizes Jordan to this day.
Reports The US-China Economic Relationship: Separating Facts from Myths Steven Dunaway Council on Foreign Relations November 16, 2009
Many myths surround the economic relationship between the United States and China. Four, in particular, stand out, and it is important to identify them as myths to avoid misunderstandings that could adversely influence policy decisions. Taken together, these four myths could lead to the conclusion that China should not be pushed hard by the United States to change its policies, especially its exchange rate policy, to facilitate the rebalancing of its economy. But such a conclusion would be a major mistake.
Rape as a Weapon
Human Rights Watch Podcast Rights Watch 17 September 2009
The United Nations' new special representative on women and conflict could finally give some teeth to the global fight against rape as a weapon of war. Congo is one place where this new office could make a big difference. Issue 1533
Reviews - Reports
Reviews - Reports
The Central Asian Puzzle Nagorno-Karababakh: Getting to a Breakthrough Europe Briefing No. 55 International Crisis Group 7 October 2009 Regional Co-operation in Central Asia: Improving the Track Record Martha Olcott Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2009
The International Crisis Group and Carnegie Endowment have both provided two different analytical viewpoints to Central Asian dynamics. International Crisis Group takes Nagorno Karabakh as a hotspot which has all the makings of Central Asian conflict zone, while Carnegie's Martha Olcott tackles the region from the broad perspective of regional cooperation.
ocated between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh is comprised of a mixture of Azeri and Armenian ethnic groups, and is subsequently claimed by the two countries that encircle it. The ICG's report provides an overview of the conflict and offers recommendations for its resolution. The report argues that a potential breakthrough in Armenian – Azeri relation is at hand due to the Armenian – Turkish rapprochement, which could act as a catalyst in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. The report dissects the societal pressures applied from each side that consider any attempts for peace as treason, in addition to the skepticism of leaders themselves. Despite the fact that a military offensive is highly unlikely by either side, Nagorno-Karabakh continues to be a potential security threat for the region. 20 November, 2009
On one hand, Azeri authorities claim that Nagorno-Karabakh is legally part of Azerbaijan, while Armenian authorities advocate the rights of ethnic Armenians in NagornoKrabakh to decide their own fate.
holding Azeri land outside NagornoKarabakh. Finally the report encourages contingency planning, allowing ethnicities in Nagorno-Karabakh to participate in the resolution of the issue, and involving external actors.
The report accordingly provides recommendations that should help build a framework of negotiation between the two states in the upcoming phase. The recommendations included a diverse array of solutions that are to be tackled simultaneously. According to the ICG, the mandate of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe should be enlarged, in order to increase its ability to apply its proposals. Furthermore, Azeri refugees should be scheduled to return to their homes in NagornoKarabakh, in addition to the withdrawal of Armenian troops that are
While expecting a breakthrough, the report did very little to explain the factors that should lead to a breakthrough, and provided nothing more than a conflict briefing. ICG's analysis suffers from a large drawback, in that it deals with the conflict in absolute terms, paying little or no attention to regional and international pressures, not to mention political spill over which is a sturdy trend in Central Asian politics. It fails to acknowledge the possibility that even if the ethnic groups in NagornoKarabakh were to decide their own fate, regional powers might halt 62
them. A similar story to that which led to the war between Russia and Georgia in August 2008. Regional and international interests in Central Asian states' affairs have long been a factor in hindering negotiation in the region. Yet the ICG endorses further external intervention. The report's recommendations to endorse ethnic groups in NagornoKarabakh as decision makers is admirable, however if such support is applied through Armenia and Azerbaijan, a potential ethnic conflict is likely to occur. Moreover, the report ignores the role of the United Nations, and specifically the Security Council in enforcing its resolutions pertaining to the status of the region and focuses on the OSCE, which has small mandate and no binding jurisdiction. On the other end of the spectrum, Martha Olcott, an expert in Central Asian affairs, discusses regional cooperation in Central Asia as means of conflict resolution. The article provides a more realistic analysis to Central Asian politics than the ICG's report and presents the issues that ICG failed to mention. Initially, the report breaks down Central Asian political development throughout Issue 1533
the past decade into positive and negative points. The report notes that an advantage in the region was the lack of armed conflicts since the Tajik war that ended in 1997, in addition to the fact that ethnic rivalries had a much smaller role in inter and intra state disputes than expected. Furthermore, the fall of the Soviet Union and the transition of the post soviet communities was particularly smooth. The down side however, suggests that conflicts over water, energy and borders are eminent, in addition to the "overflow" of the turmoil in Afghanistan, which has had a destabilizing effect on the region. The article then portrays admirable analysis in pointing out the factors that lead to only "partial success" of solutions proposed by multilateral organizations. The concept of collectivity is tackled as the article clearly describes how difficult it is for states to dissociate themselves from the collective decisions. Another factor is idealistic goals, proposed which are usually difficult for the countries in transition to put into place. The third and most important factor is international interest in the region which was overlooked by ICG's report. This specific factor has become a swaying force in negotia-
tions, as states tend to take sides according to their interests an approach which tends to lead to deadlocks. Olcott's article has achieved balance between political and economic analysis in the region providing both a critique to past approaches and solutions to the problems at hand. However, the report could have made use of referring to the regional circumstances that originally led to the current situation, such as the impact of Soviet history on the development of ethno-nationalist movements within these countries. While the ICG’s report only observed one piece of the Central Asian puzzle, the Carnegie Endowment’s assessment was based on an overall observation of the state of the region. This largely explains the deficiencies of the ICG report, in comparison to the strengths of the Olcott’s assessment. For the full reports see: http://www.crisisgroup.org/ http://www/carnegieendowment. org/ 63
The Political Essay
The Nosy Neighbour Iran and the re-definition of Iraq’s national identity
An Iranian shadow over Iraq’s future is inevitable. However, whether or not Iran will determine the outcome of events in Iraq will mainly depend on the Iraqis and on the re-definition of Iraq’s national identity. What is more, Iran’s policy towards Iraq might be more benign that malignant, and therefore should be viewed with a higher degree of normality.
ran’s interference in the internal affairs of other Middle Eastern countries is well known. With a Shia majority population, and a Shia-dominated government, Iraq is one of those cases where it is believed Iran will do all it can to throw its weight around. However, fears about Iran’s potential to decisively manipulate its neighbour’s political landscape might be over exaggerated. Also, Iran’s policy towards Iraq might be more benign than malignant. In the end, an Iranian shadow is inevitable, but the degree to which it will determine the outcome of events in Iraq will mainly depend on the Iraqis and on the re-definition of Iraq’s national identity. Analyzing Iran’s bilateral relations with Iraq under the same light as some other Iranian foreign policy developments is potentially misleading. Many of the defining features of Iran’s anti-status quo policy in the region are certainly a source for concern. In particular, Iran’s support to groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, or its defiant nuclear program, which have generated fears in the Middle East and beyond. However, Iraq’s stability is very likely to ponder more on the calculations of Iranian policy makers than the sponsorship of certain factions and, especially, the unofficial support to militant groups within Iraq. Iran’s weight in Iraq should be faced with a higher degree of normality. Establishing close friendly relations with its neighbour is a pragmatic policy in line with what has been called “the Shia factor in Iran’s foreign policy”. The aim of this policy is to increase security and generate opportunities for economical and cultural exchanges. Connected with stability and security is the very important economic dimension of the relationship between both countries. Iran is Iraq’s second trading partner (Turkey being the first one), with annual values amounting to $4 billion according to Iraqi officials. For two countries facing economic trouble, this is likely to become a defining feature of their relation. 20 November, 2009
tiative and ended up moving to Syria.
Manuel Almeida Iranians pilgrimages to Iraq (Karbala in particular) are another important aspect of a close bilateral relation between both countries, not only in a cultural perspective but in an economic one. Iraqis do maintain a high degree of suspicion in relation to Iran’s control of the pilgrimages business in Iraq, which every year brings millions of Iranians to cross the border. An example of how most Iraqis are uncomfortable with the control by Iranian companies of virtually every logistical issue that surrounds the pilgrimages of Iranian citizens is the banning of signs in Persian from Karbala. However, this ban is just a small symbolic measure which will not impede the flow of people and money from the pilgrimages. Nuri al-Maliki and its Shia government are one of the main reasons why it is believed Iran will be virtually in charge of Iraq’s future. However, it is not only an over-simplification but a mistake to assume that only because Maliki’s government is Shia it will be happy to be a tool for Iran. Maliki did spend many years in Iran, where his Dawa Party has its origins and found a sanctuary when it was the main opposition to Saddam. Nonetheless, these connections were circumstantial and they lasted while they served both parties and their common opposition to Saddam’s Baath regime. This relation turned sour many years before Saddam was deposed, when the Iranians decided to create a new anti-Saddam Iraqi group. Maliki opposed the Iranian ini-
The Iranian connection is not Maliki or his party, but the Supreme Council, which is also part of the government coalition. With civil war and widespread violence in Iraq, Iran could easily get away with the support to armed militant groups to achieve its ends. With important improvements in the security situation, such actions became more costly. If things don’t go as expected for its favored Supreme Council in the January parliamentary elections, Iran might as well have to accept that and restrain itself to peaceful political and financial support to the Supreme Council. Whether or not Iraq will achieve a solid national reconciliation is one of the defining factors in determining the degree of Iranian influence over its neighbour. The 2007 Sunni awakening against al-Qaeda groups, decisive in the improvement of Iraq’s security situation, demonstrated that there will be no future for Iraq if the falling back to sectarian loyalties is not prevented. After the Awakening, hope of all-inclusive politics in Iraq rose. Since then, many members of the awakening have joined Iraqi security forces and other state positions. These hopes diminished with the failure to integrate politically the Sunnis. The Iraqi government did try to change this, but on a rather slow pace. Of all the possible outcomes of Iraq’s national identity re-definition, one is the fragmentary scenario between Shia, Sunni and Kurds, which best serves Iran’s chances of interfering in Iraq’s internal affairs. Another possible outcome is the achievement of a solid national Iraqi identity with allinclusive politics accommodating all Sunni, Shia and Kurdish interests and demands, which would be crucial to guarantee an Iraqi autonomous future. In this “battle of identities”, Iraqis Arab identity is likely to loom higher, and contribute to maintain the desired degree of independence for Iraq from its meddling neighbour. 64
20 November, 2009