Friday, February 24, 2006

Huge terrorist attack thwarted in Saudi Arabia

Holy crap! You want to see high oil prices? Prices after Katrina would be nothing compared to what would have happened if the terrorists had succeeded in this attack.

Suicide bombers in explosives-laden cars attacked the world's largest oil processing facility Friday, but were prevented from breaking through the gates when guards opened fire on them, causing the vehicles to explode, officials said.

[...] It was the first attack on an oil facility in Saudi Arabia - and it targeted one of the kingdom's most important. The huge Abqaiq processing facility near the Gulf coast handles around two-thirds of the country's oil output, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Intelligence Agency.

Saudi Arabia has been waging a fierce three-year crackdown on al-Qaida militants, who launched a campaign in 2003 aimed at overthrowing the royal family with a string of attacks - mostly targeting foreigners. In May 2004, militants attacked oil company offices in two cities.

Saudi Arabia has been a very helpful ally in the GWOT (as I mentioned yesterday in my post on the UAE ports deal) but they've also got some activities that fuel the extremist mindset. Weren't something like 15 of the 9/11 terrorists of Saudi origin? Don't they fund extremist Wahabi schools that preach hatred against the West? Should we not do business with them? To what extent? Would they demand we close our military bases in the country? Are we a safer country for doing business with them based on the recipricol benefits we get in pursuing terrorists in the region? Now what about UAE?

UPDATE @ 4:30PM: Al Qaeda claims responsibility for the attack.

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi-born Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda group claimed responsibility for Friday's attack on a major Saudi oil facility at Abqaiq, the group said in an Internet statement.

The statement, posted by the al Qaeda Group in the Peninsula on a Web site often used by militant groups, said two of its members carried out the suicide operation but gave no details.

The authenticity of the statement could not be verified.