New York Times Saudi Arabia and Syria 1/09

Over 1,000 participants in the ongoing Syrian conflict arrived from Saudi Arabia, a country that officially bans any such participation, according to the New York Times.

In spite of its official stance, the government recently offered a position to famed jihadi and bomber, Amhed al-Shayea. Elsewhere in the government, a major Saudi official’s family praised his nephew who was killed in the conflict.

The Saudi government has become the “main backer of the Syrian rebels,” according to the Times. The government primarily uses fundamentalist militia fighters, who veer closely in principle to Al Qaeda. The Saudi government exerts little control over these militia warriors.

Many Saudi citizens, like former jihadist Abu Khattab, who fought in Syria, have become frustrated with the mass of contradictions on Saudi policies in regard to Syria. Khattab traveled to Syria to fight eight times before renouncing the conflict.  He no longer believes it to be a justified Jihad after having witnessed atrocities committed towards innocent civilians by his fellow fighters. Others fear that these militia warriors may return from conflict, prepared to launch insurgency on Saudi soil as occurred with returning militia from Afghanistan a decade ago.

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