US embassy cable - 95RIYADH5472

CDLR FEELS VINDICATED BY OPM/SANG BOMBING, SEPARATES CROWN PRINCE ABDULLAH FROM THE "CORRUPT PACK"

Identifier: 95RIYADH5472
Wikileaks: View 95RIYADH5472 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Riyadh
Created: 1995-12-17 13:44:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PHUM KISL PINS PINR SA
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 171344Z DEC 95
FM AMEMBASSY RIYADH
TO USIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3316
SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2417
INFO AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
AMEMBASSY AMMAN 
AMEMBASSY CAIRO 
AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS 
GCC COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 RIYADH 005472 
 
 
LONDON FOR TUELLER; PARIS FOR ALLEGRONE 
 
USIA FOR NEA 
 
E.O.12958: DECL:  12/13/05 
TAGS:  PGOV, PHUM, KISL, PINS, PINR, SA 
SUBJECT:  CDLR FEELS VINDICATED BY OPM/SANG BOMBING, 
          SEPARATES CROWN PRINCE ABDULLAH FROM THE 
          "CORRUPT PACK" 
 
REFS:  A) STATE 281707 AND PREVIOUS; B) RIYADH 3592; 
       C) RIYADH 2470 AND PREVIOUS 
 
1.  CLASSIFIED BY DCM THEODORE H. KATTOUF, REASON 1.5(B). 
 
2.  (U)  SUMMARY:  ANALYSIS OF THE BULLETINS AND 
COMMUNIQUES ISSUED BY THE THE COMMITTEE FOR THE DEFENSE 
OF LEGITIMATE RIGHTS (CDLR) DURING THE PAST FOUR WEEKS 
REVEALS TWO MAIN THEMES OF NOTE.  FIRST, THE CDLR CITES 
THE CAR BOMBING AT THE OPM/SANG HEADQUARTERS IN RIYADH 
AS VINDICATION OF ITS WARNINGS THAT SUCH ATTACKS WERE 
INEVITABLE UNDER A CORRUPT REGIME WITH UNACCEPTABLY 
CLOSE TIES TO THE UNITED STATES.  SECOND, THE CDLR HAS 
ATTEMPTED TO CAPITALIZE ON KING FAHD'S ILL HEALTH TO 
DRIVE A WEDGE BETWEEN CROWN PRINCE ABDULLAH AND MINISTER 
OF DEFENSE AND CIVIL AVIATION PRINCE SULTAN WHO, AS 
SECOND DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, IS SECOND IN LINE TO THE 
THRONE AFTER ABDULLAH.  THE CDLR COMMUNIQUES IMPLY THAT, 
EVEN THOUGH CROWN PRINCE ABDULLAH IS AN AL SAUD, HE 
WOULD BE PREFERABLE AS A RULER TO FAHD OR ANY OF FAHD'S 
FULL BROTHERS.  END SUMMARY. 
 
------------------ 
BOMBING FOREWARNED 
------------------ 
 
2.  (U)  THE LONDON-BASED SAUDI DISSIDENT GROUP CDLR 
DISSEMINATED A COMMUNIQUE THE DAY AFTER THE NOVEMBER 13 
TERRORIST BOMBING OF OPM/SANG HEADQUARTERS IN RIYADH 
CITING ITS PREVIOUS WARNINGS THAT SUCH INCIDENTS WERE 
EXPECTED BECAUSE OF WHAT IT CALLED THE REPRESSION, 
ARREST, IMPRISONMENT, AND TORTURE OF REFORMERS BY THE AL 
SAUD GOVERNMENT AND THE USG'S ALLEGED COMPLICITY IN 
THOSE CRIMES.  THOUGH THE CDLR CLAIMED NOT TO BE 
SURPRISED BY THE BOMBING INCIDENT, IT INSISTED THAT IT 
HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT GROUP OR PERSONS WERE 
RESPONSIBLE. 
 
3.  (U)  IN A BULLETIN ISSUED NOVEMBER 22, THE CDLR 
CITED UPRISINGS FROM THE SAUDI PAST TO ILLUSTRATE WHAT 
IT CONSIDERED A HISTORICAL PATTERN OF LINKS BETWEEN 
EPISODES OF CLOSE TIES TO THE WEST AND VIOLENT RESPONSES 
FROM THE SAUDI PEOPLE.  IN THE 1920S, IT NOTED, 
SUSPICIONS AROSE THAT ABD AL-AZIZ WAS A MERE AGENT OF 
BRITAIN, AND THE RESULT WAS THE BLOODY IKHWAN UPRISING. 
IN 1979, JUHAYMAN AL-OTAIBI LED A TAKEOVER OF THE GRAND 
MOSQUE IN MECCA IN A SHOW OF THE PEOPLE'S ANGER AT THE 
WESTERN-TILTING AL SAUDS. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
4.  (U)  CLEARLY, THE CDLR WISHES TO DRAW A PARALLEL TO 
THE CLOSE SAUDI-U.S. RELATIONSHIP UNDER FAHD AND WHAT IT 
CONSIDERS A JUSTIFIABLY ANGRY RESPONSE TO THAT 
RELATIONSHIP FROM THE SAUDI PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY SINCE THE 
GULF WAR:  THE SIGNING OF JOINT PETITIONS, THE RISE AND 
IMPRISONMENT OF ISLAMIST ULEMA, AND NOW THE OPM/SANG 
BOMBING.  ACCORDING TO THE CDLR, PEOPLE--OUTSIDERS AS 
WELL AS SAUDIS--MAKE THE MISTAKE OF ASSUMING THAT THE 
NATIVES OF THE ARABIAN PENINSULA HAVE A PEACEFUL NATURE 
WHEN, IN FACT, WHAT CONTROLS THE INNATE ANGER OF THE 
REGION'S PEOPLE IS THE UMBRELLA OF RELIGION.  THE 
IMPLICATION HERE IS A THEME FAMILIAR FROM PREVIOUS CDLR 
MISSIVES:  IN THE ABSENCE OF TRUE ISLAMIC RULE, AND 
TRULY ISLAMIC RULERS, THE PEOPLE WILL SHOW THEIR 
AGGRESSIVE SIDE.  END COMMENT. 
 
--------------------------------- 
WEDGE BETWEEN ABDULLAH AND SULTAN 
--------------------------------- 
 
5.  (U)  IN SUBSEQUENT FAXES ISSUED DECEMBER 11 AND 13, 
THE CDLR CHARGED THAT KING FAHD REMAINED PARALYZED 
FOLLOWING HIS HOSPITALIZATION FOR A STROKE AND THAT HIS 
DECEMBER 5 TELEVISED HOSPITAL MAJLIS WAS A GIANT BLUFF 
USING FILE FOOTAGE.  ACCORDING TO CLDR'S VERSION OF 
EVENTS, THE HOAX WAS ENGINEERED BY THE OTHER SUDAYRI 
BROTHERS--PRINCES SULTAN, SALMAN, AND NAYIF--TO 
STRENGTHEN THEIR POSITION AND HEAD OFF THE ASCENSION TO 
THE THRONE OF HALF-BROTHER ABDULLAH. 
 
6.  (U)  THE CDLR CLAIMED FURTHER THAT SULTAN USED 
ABDULLAH'S ABSENCE DURING THE RECENT GCC SUMMIT IN 
MUSCAT TO APPEAL IN VAIN TO THE ULAMA TO DECLARE HIM THE 
SUCCESSOR TO FAHD AND TO STRIP ABDULLAH OF HIS COMMAND 
OF THE NATIONAL GUARD, PLACING IN HIS STEAD HIS FULL 
BROTHER PRINCE ABDULRAHMAN BIN ABD AL-AZIZ, SULTAN'S 
DEPUTY AT MODA.  THE DECEMBER 11 CDLR COMMUNIQUE 
SEPARATES ABDULLAH FROM THE REST OF THE AL SAUD PACK 
(IDENTIFYING HIM AS "THE OTHER PARTY") AND EXHORTS HIM 
TO ASSUME HIS HISTORIC RESPONSIBILITY TO REASSERT SAUDI 
ARABIA'S LEADERSHIP IN ESTABLISHING ISLAMIC JUSTICE, 
DEFENDING THE PROSELYTIZATION OF ISLAM, RESPECTING 
REFORMERS, AND RIDDING THE NATION OF FOREIGN 
HEGEMONISTS.  THE COMMUNIQUE CONCLUDES WITH AN APPEAL 
FOR THE UNCONDITIONAL RELEASE OF ALL DETAINEES. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
7.  (C)  THE CDLR'S HARSH DESCRIPTION OF PRINCES SULTAN, 
SALMAN, AND NAYIF AS CRIMINALS WITH BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS 
IS NOT SURPRISING OR EVEN NEW.  SALMAN, AS GOVERNOR OF 
RIYADH, DEALT FACE-TO-FACE WITH CDLR SPOKESMAN MUHAMMAD 
AL-MASARI AND HIS FOLLOWERS WHEN THEY WERE FIRST 
DETAINED.  MINISTER OF INTERIOR PRINCE NAYIF OVERSAW 
MASARI'S INCARCERATION IN AL-HAYR PRISON.  SULTAN--FULL 
BROTHER TO KING FAHD, SALMAN, AND NAYIF--FITS EASILY 
INTO THE GROUP.  AS MINISTER OF DEFENSE AND CIVIL 
AVIATION, HE IS CLOSELY TIED TO THE WELCOMING OF WESTERN 
COALITION FORCES TO THE PENINSULA DURING OPERATIONS 
DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM--AN IMPORTANT POINT OF 
CONTENTION FOR CDLR.  AND AS SECOND IN LINE TO THE 
THRONE, SULTAN IS THE SUDAYRI MOST LIKELY TO BECOME KING. 
 
8.  (C)  WHAT IS UNUSUAL IN THE FAXES IS THE CDLR'S 
SEPARATE APPEAL TO CROWN PRINCE ABDULLAH, WHOM THEY 
DISTINGUISH FROM OTHER RULING AL SAUDS WHO "DISTORT THE 
IMAGE OF ISLAM."  BY IMPLYING THAT ABDULLAH COULD SERVE 
AS A MEANINGFUL ALTERNATIVE TO SUDAYRI RULE, CDLR PLAYS 
TO THE PERCEPTION COMMON AMONG SAUDIS THAT ABDULLAH IS A 
MORE ETHICAL MAN THAN FAHD, THAT HE CARES MORE FOR HIS 
COUNTRY, THAT HE "PANDERS" LESS TO THE WEST AND AMERICA 
IN PARTICULAR, AND THAT HIS REIGN AS KING WOULD BE FAR 
LESS CORRUPT THAN FAHD'S. 
 
9.  (C)  IT IS DOUBTFUL THE CDLR ACTUALLY BELIEVES THIS 
ASSESSMENT, SINCE ABDULLAH WOULD NOT FURTHER THE 
ORGANIZATION'S TRUE, LONG-TERM GOALS--THE CREATION OF AN 
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC AND THE OVERTHROW OF THE AL SAUD.  BUT 
BY PRESENTING ITSELF AS SYMPATHETIC TO CHANGE UNDER 
ABDULLAH, THE CDLR CAN ALIGN ITSELF WITH A RELATIVELY 
POPULAR BELIEF AMONG SAUDIS IN GENERAL.  THE CDLR MAY 
ALSO BE ATTEMPTING TO POSITION ITSELF FOR AN APPEAL FOR 
THE RELEASE OF THE REMAINING ISLAMIST DETAINEES ONCE 
ABDULLAH BECOMES KING.  AT THE SAME TIME, CDLR SPOKESMAN 
MUHAMMAD MASARI MAY HAVE IT IN MIND TO REASSURE THE 
BRITISH GOVERNMENT, AT A POINT WHEN HE IS UNDER 
SUSPICION OF HAVING LINKS TO THE OPM/SANG BOMBING (REF 
A), THAT HIS ORGANIZATION IS NOT REALLY COMMITTED TO THE 
VIOLENT OVERTHROW OF THE AL SAUDS BUT CAN WORK FOR 
CHANGE WITHIN THE SYSTEM.  END COMMENT. 
 
 
MABUS 

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