Saudis working hard to divide Pak militants and al Qaeda: Stratfor

March 12th, 2009 - 4:36 pm ICT by ANI  


Washington, Mar 12 (ANI): Saudi Arabia will have to get the Pakistan Taliban to part ways with al Qaeda and are working hard to drive a wedge between Pakistani militants and their foreign guests, according to an US-based news intelligence service.

Stratfor says efforts to divide the Taliban from the global jihadists are happening during the plush, Saudi-sponsored trips for Taliban members to conduct Hajj and Umrah in the kingdom.

Following a strategy similar to what they did in Iraq, the Saudis and their agents are meeting with Taliban commanders on the ground in Pakistan and Afghanistan to twist arms and offer cash.

They also are coordinating very closely with the Pakistani and Afghan authorities who are leading the campaign against the jihadists.

For example, Rehman Malik, the Pakistani Interior Adviser travelled to Saudi Arabia in January at the invitation of Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif bin Abdul-Aziz to discuss improving counter-terrorism cooperation between the two countries.

Many of the 85 most-wanted militants on the list recently released by the Saudi Government are believed to be in Pakistan, and the Saudis are working with Malik and the Pakistanis to arrest those militants and return them to Saudi Arabia.

Osama bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, and others are well aware of these Saudi moves, which they see as a threat to their very existence.

The al Qaeda leadership has nowhere to go if circumstances become untenable for them in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Caught between US, Pakistani and Saudi forces, the last thing al Qaeda wants is to lose local support from the Taliban.

In other words, Pakistan is their final battleground, and any threat to their continued haven in Pakistan poses a clear and present danger to the organization especially if the Saudis can play a pivotal role in persuading the Taliban in Afghanistan also to turn against them, Stratfor says.

Leveraging its successes against the al Qaeda franchises in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, Riyadh also is working closely with governments to combat the jihadists in places like Yemen as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Al Qaedas military capabilities have been greatly degraded since 2001, and with the remnant of its Saudi franchise fleeing to Yemen, it likely has very little ability to make a meaningful strike inside the kingdom. (ANI)

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