Saudi Arabia Contains Its Security Threats

29 October 2012 | 09:53 Code : 1908464 Interview General category
An interview with Sabah Zanganeh, Iran’s former ambassador to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation
Saudi Arabia Contains Its Security Threats


The King of Saudi Arabia, in his meeting with security commanders and officials, has said that the country is filled with sedition. What does he mean by sedition?

It seems that the definition of the officials is different from its historical meaning. Usually, when governments are faced with political and social problems which would create suspicion or threaten their governing system, they call them sedition, no matter whether their origin is internal or external. Different forms of problems and crises which exist in the region can be seen in Saudi Arabia. Sedition can have different dimensions. 

One of these dimensions is the issue of religious and sectarian and tribal differences. Considering the population of Saudi Arabia, if this country continues to be governed as it has been, it will be faced with many of these issues and incidents. On the other hand, the presence of some international political movements, like the Muslim Brotherhood, in the Persian Gulf is considered as a threat to these kingdoms, including Saudi Arabia. A clear example of this incident can be seen in the United Arab Emirates where many of its citizens who were accused of plotting to overthrow the political system, and were arrested and imprisoned, were affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. The same situation exists in other Persian Gulf littoral states, perhaps to an even stronger degree.

Saudi Arabia is naturally concerned about this movement and knows that it cannot escape from its consequences. Furthermore, freedom and independence-seeking movements can be seen among the intellectuals and educated strata of the society, many of whom are educated in the West and especially the US. These people have returned to their country with the idea of democracy and demand participation in political power and its trend. They are against their country being ruled by a family. The issue of the enormous oil income of these countries, and at the same time, financial crisis in western countries, particularly in the US, could be the origin of all kinds of sedition.

To what extent have Saudi officials confessed to the existence of these threats in Saudi Arabia?

Such positions were taken during the al-Qaeda movement and the return of the Arab-Afghans to Saudi Arabia, but in a more limited and weaker way. It seems that these recent statements are indicative of the dimensions of these dangers and threats. Therefore, Saudi officials are seriously concerned and seek different options to help them continue their power. 

Many believe that the movements in Syria or Iraq which take terrorist measures against the government are supported by Saudi Arabia. Is it possible, in your opinion, that Saudi Arabia uses such tactics to distance the threats from its borders?

It is not impossible, because many of these radical groups which follow a takfiri ideology are present in Saudi Arabia. Several leaders of these groups have been arrested and later stated their repentance while they were in prison. It is not clear what has happened to them during their imprisonment and what agreements were made between these people, who were accused of armed struggle, and the officials that prevented them from being executed. Non-execution of these prisoners shows that an agreement has been made. There have been no open talks about these agreements, but the evidence that exists in the entire Arab and Islamic region indicates that such measures are possibly related to the atmosphere which is created for these people in the prison to direct them towards other countries beyond Saudi Arabia. The objective might be to both satisfy the struggling sentiments of these groups and prevent the concentration of domestic crisis in Saudi Arabia and, in fact, direct these crises towards other regions. Perhaps, the evidence which exists with regard to financial aid received from Saudi Arabia and many western countries by these groups can be another reason for agreements being made in the prisons. 

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