Sunday, December 19, 2004

Evidence of Al Qaeda's Defeat in Saudi Arabia 
Captain's Quarters links to this Washington Post story.

Al Qaeda forces in Saudi Arabia have shifted their strategy and are now almost exclusively searching for U.S. and other Western targets in the kingdom while avoiding attacks on domestic institutions in a bid to strengthen their flagging network, according to security officials and Saudi experts on radical groups.

Security forces have arrested or killed 17 of the 26 most wanted militant leaders in the country. Two others on the most wanted list are believed to be dead or badly injured, while a key operational planner reportedly fled the kingdom, Saudi security officials said.

Saudi officials said that they have dismantled three of four known al Qaeda cells and that the insurgents are finding it harder to obtain ammunition, weaponry and money. The size and scope of the attacks have also dwindled since last year, when car bombs in Riyadh blew up two Western residential compounds and caused more than 200 casualties.

"The people who are still there are not as skillful as the ones who were there in the beginning," said Brig. Gen. Mansour Turki, a spokesman for the Saudi Interior Ministry. "We feel more confident than we did in the beginning of this fight. We thought it would take much longer to be in control. We cannot deny that there are still possibilities that the terrorists could execute more acts, but they are not as strong as they were a year ago."

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