“RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia issued a new list on Tuesday of 36 suspects believed to be linked to attacks in the world’s biggest oil exporter, showing its battle with militants is far from over.
In the latest response to a two-year campaign of bombings and killings by supporters of Osama Bin Laden’s al Qaeda group, state television broadcast pictures of the suspects and offered hefty rewards for their capture.
“Security authorities managed to uncover plans by the deviant group who used themselves as a tool to distort Islam and harm the security of the country,” the Interior Ministry said.
The announcement came just days after a report that one of the last remaining militants on an earlier Saudi “most wanted” list had been killed in Iraq.”
“A senior European counter-terrorism official said the publication of the new list pointed to the “striking ability of these groups to renew themselves … There is still a large (militant) potential in Saudi Arabia and neighboring states.”
“The story is not yet over,” the official said.
Officials say at least 90 civilians and more than 40 members of the security forces have been killed by militants and attacks have caused at least 1 billion riyals ($270 million) of damage.
But police have killed more than 100 militants in the same period and there have been no attacks this year comparable to the multiple suicide bombings of residential compounds in 2003 or the targeted killings of Westerners 12 months ago.
The ministry offered a bounty of up to 7 million Saudi riyals ($1.87 million) for anyone who helps capture a militant or foil an attack.
Most of the wanted men were Saudis but some were from Chad, Yemen, Morocco and Mauritania. Fifteen were believed to be at large inside Saudi Arabia while 21 were outside the kingdom, the statement said.
Saudi analyst Faris bin Houzam said of those outside Saudi Arabia most were likely to be in neighboring Iraq.
“The issue for the government is when those fighters in Iraq return to Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Saudi security consultant Nawaf Obaid said most of the Saudis — who made up 29 of the 36 names on the new list — were “second tier” militants who had worked under more senior operatives, most of whom have been killed or captured.
All but two men on a previous Saudi list of 26 wanted men, published in December 2003, are believed dead or in custody.
The non-Saudis are wanted by Riyadh but “also represent a threat in their native countries” because they had gained access to money, logistics and training while in Saudi Arabia, he said.
Saudi Arabia has been battling militants loyal to bin Laden’s al Qaeda network, who have staged several bloody attacks on foreign residents, government sites and energy-industry installations in the last two years.”
Fine, this is all well and good but I want to see more. I want to read about a change in the propaganda being pushed in state run media and then maybe we can discuss a real change in policy and action.