Abdul Bari Atwan: Who is behind Saudi bombings?

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LONDON: The Saudi government may have orchestrated the recent triple bombings in Saudi Ara­bia as a ploy to portray itself as a victim of the Daesh ter­rorist group — as opposed to the common belief that Ri­yadh is a sponsor of the group — and push forward other political agendas, says an eminent Arab journalist.

On Monday, the Saudi Arabian cites of Medina, Qa­tif, and Jeddah were targeted in a series of terrorist attacks.

Several security guards were killed when a terrorist detonated his explosives near the security headquarters of the Prophet (PBUH)’s Mosque in the western city of Medina. The blast happened immedi­ately after two bomb explo­sions near a Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia’s eastern city of Qatif. Earlier in the day, a bomb had gone off close to the United States’ consulate in the city of Jeddah, in western Saudi Arabia.

Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm, wrote in his latest editorial that the Saudi regime is attempting to use the bombings to disguise itself as a “victim” of Daesh and use the narrative in favor of its political interests.

While Saudi Arabia has blamed the bombings on Dae­sh, the terrorist group is yet to claim responsibility even as several days have gone by. Atwan said Daesh was quick to claim responsibility for the terrorist attacks in Belgium, France, and Bangladesh, which, according to him, rais­es a bigger question regarding the bombings in Saudi Arabia.

Daesh practices Wah­habism, a radical ideology that is freely preached by gov­ernment-sanctioned clerics in Saudi Arabia.

“Therefore,” Atwan said, “it is not unlikely that, in order to reject criticism and to por­tray itself as innocent, Riyadh may have orchestrated these bombings in order to be able to say that, like other countries…, it is a victim of Daesh terror.”

The Palestinian journalist went on to refer to the trip by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir to Washington imme­diately after the bombings and said, while in the US, Jubeir of­fered to send ground forces to Syria “to fight Daesh.”

Saudi Arabia has long op­posed the government of Syri­an President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces are involved in fighting foreign-backed mili­tants, including Daesh.

Riyadh has several times sought to get the United States’ green light to deploy ground forces to Syria under the pretext of fighting Daesh, but is yet to receive such per­mission from Washington.

In his editorial, Atwan quoted US Secretary of State John Kerry as saying that Washington is studying Jubeir’s latest offer for the de­ployment of ground forces.

The bombings in Saudi Arabia, Atwan wrote, may have been meant to prepare the ground for the offer by Jubeir.

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