Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Oil-Rich Gulf States Placed on Al Qaeda’s Front Burner

The DEBKA file has a very disturbing report on Al Qaeda moving the GWOT to new turf. Of particular concern is the reports of activity over a variety of fronts and the sophisticated approach taken:
{T}the assumption that these gunmen arrived simply because they were put to flight by clampdowns in Saudi Arabia and Iraq is refuted by the data obtained in interrogations of captives, documents, arms caches and newly-intercepted messages. They all paint the picture of a well-planned, highly professional, large-scale paramilitary organization that was set up in the autumn of 2004 for a protracted campaign – mainly against Arab Gulf oil resources and US bases.

Kuwaiti security officials were quite bowled over by the extent and diversity of the arms stores they tracked down and the clever way they were concealed and disguised in unexpected locations. A stock of 700 fragmentation and stun grenades was uncovered behind the fence of a public children’s playground. Fake gas, water and power utility boxes on city streets concealed automatic submachine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, shoulder-held anti-tank missiles and large quantities of explosives. Kuwait authorities were forced to admit that some local agency in the emirate must have been busy for weeks, undetected by US or Kuwaiti intelligence, hiring professional builders to install realistic storage facilities on main streets.

They are also disturbed by the heavy resistance and hail of grenades that awaited the security forces in all four raids. In none did the terrorists surrender without a fight.

As Kuwait plunges into its most extensive search-and-probe ever to root out the terrorist presence and its tentacles, Oman (2.9 million) too is in the grip of a deep al Qaeda penetration. Here the armed forces are also infected. Two weeks ago, a chance road accident revealed a truck hauling a large consignment of weapons for terrorist operations between hiding places. Omani authorities admitted to a “religious extremist” plot to disrupt the Muscat cultural festival, but insisted “they are not violent extremists” and only 30 were arrested. According to most other sources, the number was at least 300.

Friday, January 28, DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources revealed a state of emergency had been declared in Jordan; King Abdullah, his family and court, were moved out of their Amman palace to a secure place outside the capital. Royal vehicles were given ordinary number plates and security was stepped up around government offices and hotels.

Jordanian intelligence – JID – was acting on information that a group of al Qaeda fighters from Fallujah who had dubbed themselves “The Fallujah Returnees” had infiltrated the kingdom under the lead of a Jordanian aide of Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi called Mohammed Shalabi. The group was believed to be hiding in the south somewhere between Karak east of the Dead Sea and the Saudi frontier.

Jordan’s Saudi neighbors also went on the alert, suspecting the band would be heading for the royal military town of Tabuk.
(emphasis added) Hat tip:From a Singapore Angle

Couple this with the December 16, 2004 Institute for Analysis of Global Security report on "Terrorism and Oil" (hat tip: GeoPolitical Review) as reported here and the odd groups of speedboats (in training?) as set out here and one could make the leap to the conclusion that the attacks on various oil field and oil supply sources as set out in the IAGS report could be getting close and are connected to Osama bin Laden's reported interest in waging economic warfare.

Update: US Bases being cased? See here. (Hat tip: The Counterterrorism Blog

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