June 2, 2004 Special Dispatch No. 726

Saudi Officials Reinforce Crown Prince Abdallah's Accusation that Zionists Are Behind Terror Attacks in Saudi Arabia

June 2, 2004
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 726

At the Saudi embassy in Washington D.C. on June 2, 2004, U.S. and Saudi officials held a news conference to announce stricter Saudi government oversight of charitable organizations which have been accused of supporting terrorism.

The officials present at the press conference were Adel Al-Jubeir, foreign affairs adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah, E. Anthony Wayne, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, and Juan Zarate, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Executive Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crime, Treasury Department.

The officials were asked by the media about comments made by Crown Prince Abdallah in reaction to the May 1, 2004 terrorist attack in Yunbu, Saudi Arabia, in which seven people were killed. On the day after the attack, Crown Prince Abdallahstated at a gathering of Saudi dignitaries that "Zionists" were to blame: "This is seduction. You all know who is behind it all. Zionism is behind it. It has become clear now. It has become clear to us. I don't say, I mean… It is not 100%, but 95% [certain] that the Zionist hands are behind what happened. But I tell you that you can be 100% sure that, Allah willing, this country will be victorious, whoever the faction that turns against it may be. But we are convinced that Zionism is behind everything. This has been established, I am not saying by 100%, but by 95%." [1]

Adel Al-Jubeir responded to questions about the statement by comparing American critics of Saudi Arabia to Al-Qa'ida terrorists, and E. Anthony Wayne of the U.S. State Department also did not criticize Crown Prince Abdallah's remarks. The following are excerpts from the Saudi Embassy press conference, and other statements by high-ranking members of the Saudi royal family defending Crown Prince Abdallah's statement:

The Saudi Embassy Event

Question: "Crown Prince Abdallah, after the Yunbu attack, said that the Zionist elements were behind the attacks inside the kingdom. And U.S. Ambassador Oberwetter asked for a clarification with Prince Saud. He was told that the Saudis had evidence that radical Zionist elements were financing or may be financing some London-based dissidents who he believed are fomenting the attacks. Can you share with us what radical Zionist elements the Crown Prince and Prince Saud were referring to?

"And I'd also like to ask the gentleman from the State Department to tell us what the United States government makes of these comments by the Saudi leadership?"

Adel Al-Jubeir: "Well, it [inaudible] in expanding the comments, the individuals in the U.S. who have been very critical of Saudi Arabia, who have called Saudi Arabia the axis of evil or the kernel of evil, who have called for the dismemberment of Saudi Arabia, who have been in touch with Saudis in order to foment problems in Saudi Arabia, who have called for regime change in Saudi Arabia, who have called for the dismemberment of Saudi Arabia, that objective is not much different from Osama bin Laden's objective.

"And so the idea or the point made was that those who take that position share the same objective as bin Laden. And I'll leave it at that.

"Do you want to comment on it?"

E. Anthony Wayne: "Well, only to say that whoever is responsible for the terrorist attacks, we want to go after seriously, thoroughly, track them down, because we oppose terrorism around the world, whoever is carrying it out.

"We do distinguish between legitimate dissent and support for terrorism. And there is that clear distinction between that. But we are committed to tracking down terrorists, to bringing them to justice, to taking public and private actions against them to stop their activities."

Question: " Well, who are these elements who you're referring to, who are trying to foment instability within the kingdom - elements in the United States? Who are you talking about?"

Al-Jubeir: "I think you know who I'm talking about. It's been reported in a number of magazines. The individuals have been on television, saying so. And they've written in American publications. And as a journalist and a good investigative journalist, I'm sure you can find them." [2]

Prince Nayef: Zionism is behind Al-Qa'ida

On May 6, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef Abd Al-'Aziz told the Yemenite weekly September 26 that blaming Al-Qa'ida for attacks in Saudi Arabia does not contradict the words of Crown Prince Abdallah that the Zionists are behind these operations, because Israel and Zionism are behind Al-Qa'ida, which is responsible for all attacks in Arab countries. [3]

Prince Salman: 'These Acts Are Being Supported by Extreme Zionism'

On May 14, 2004, the Saudi royal family website Ain-Al-Yaqeen reported, "Prince Salman Ibn Abdul Aziz, Governor of Riyadh region, [said]: 'Those who desire to harm this country, especially in the light of the terrorist acts they have been committing and assuming themselves to be mujahideen, are in fact, the martyrs of a Satanic group, which is now engaged in defaming Islam.' He affirmed that the religion aims at uniting Muslims and at prohibiting any pretext for division and said that these acts are being supported by extreme Zionism whose aim is to limit the Islamic call." [4]

Prince Turki: The Jewish Lobby Takes Advantage of Terrorism to Damage U.S.-Saudi Ties

On May 14, 2004, the Saudi royal family website Ain-Al-Yaqeen reported that Saudi Prince Turki, the Saudi Ambassador to London and former Saudi intelligence chief, conducted an interview with Al-Akfar Magazine, in which he discussed the criticism of Crown Prince Abdallah's statement:

"… Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to the United Kingdom and Ireland, was as usual very accurate in his diagnosis and in specifying all responsibilities when he told Al Afkar Magazine that the Jewish lobby, which has spread illusions and delusions far from the truth in the West, is the main obstacle facing our presentation of the Arab causes in a way that can prevent this lobby from hiding the truth, forging history and stigmatizing Arabs as terrorists, killers, and fanatics.

"Prince Turki said: '… Naturally some areas in Washington find it beneficial to use this situation to damage the strong existing relations between the U.S.A. and Saudi Arabia, and they have succeeded to a certain extent because of the enormous media that they possess, the huge lobby that serves their causes, and the events of September 11…'" [5]

Adel Al-Jubeir on CNN: 'There's No Apology Necessary'

On May 13, 2004, CNN's Wolf Blitzer questioned Saudi foreign Affairs Advisor Adel Al-Jubeir about Crown Prince Abdallah's statements:

Blitzer: "Your Crown Prince Abdallah, he made a very controversial statement, as you well know… He was accusing Zionists of that most recent terror attack in Riyadh. On the basis of what?"

Al-Jubeir: "I believe, Wolf, if you look at the context of it, the point that he was trying to make is that there are people in the United States who have been very harsh when it comes to Saudi Arabia, have called for regime change in Saudi Arabia, have called for the dismemberment of Saudi Arabia, and whose - the objectives that they have called for are the same objectives as those shared by the terrorists.

"Osama bin Laden wants to destroy the Saudi state. Osama bin Laden wants to destroy the Saudi government. And so you should understand these comments in that context, that those who are most critical of Saudi Arabia in a very hostile way in the United States, as well as in Israel, share the same objective as Osama bin Laden and those who committed these acts…"

Blitzer: "Is the crown prince, who's the effective leader of Saudi Arabia, equating Al-Qa'ida with Zionists?"

Al-Jubeir: "That's not what he was trying to say here. What he was trying to say is that the objectives of those people who have been most harsh toward Saudi Arabia are the same as the objectives of Osama bin Laden. It doesn't mean that they committed this crime."

Blitzer: "Because we listened closely to that tape and we had several Arab linguists listen precisely. And what he clearly said was that he believes 95% - not 100%, but 95% - that the people who undertook this most recent terror attack in Saudi Arabia was not Al-Qa'ida, but were Zionists."

Al-Jubeir: "… When you say behind them, it means supporting them intellectually. That doesn't mean financially. It doesn't mean that they put them up to it. It just means that they share the same objective…"

Blitzer: "… Do you want to issue any sort of apology for the comments of your boss, the Crown Prince Abdallah?"

Al-Jubeir: "Why apology? I was explaining it to you. There's no apology necessary."

Blitzer: "Because of the impression that he left that for that most recent terror attack he was blaming Zionists."

Al-Jubeir: "Because, Wolf, what happens with Saudi Arabia, unfortunately, after 9/11 is anything that Saudi Arabia does or says is perceived with a lot of criticism.

"It's sort of, we are guilty until proven innocent. It should be the other way around. And so nobody cuts us any slack. And every little thing is exaggerated. Every little thing is inflated. I can look at statements by American officials. I can look at statements by officials of other countries that are outrageous and that have not solicited apologies from them or from anyone else. But when it comes to us, we're always the ones who have to apologize. I don't see a reason to do this here." [6]

[1] Saudi 1 Television, May 2, 2004. See MEMRI Saudi Crown Prince on Yunbu' Attack: 'Zionism Is Behind Terrorist Actions In The Kingdom… I Am 95% Sure Of That', May 3, 2004, 'Saudi Crown Prince on Yunbu' Attack: 'Zionism is Behind Terrorist Actions in the Kingdom… I Am 95% Sure of That.'

[2] Saudi Embassy website, June 2, 2004. Video: Transcript:

[3] September 26 (Yemen), May 6, 2004.

[4] Ain-Al-Yaqeen (Saudi Arabia), May 14, 2004.

[5] Ain-Al-Yaqeen (Saudi Arabia), May 14, 2004.

[6] CNN: Wolf Blitzer Reports, May 13, 2004.

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