PAKISTANI MEDIA CALLS RED MOSQUE INCIDENT AN INTELLIGENCE FAILURE
The Pakistani newspaper The News published a report on July 13 that questioned how it was possible for the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) administration to smuggle in large quantities of arms and ammunition, especially considering that the site is located in the heart of the federal capital and just a few kilometers from the headquarters of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and the Intelligence Bureau. The weapons found at the facility included rocket launchers, AK-47s, landmines, hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenades and various small arms and ammunition. The News labels the development as an intelligence failure and “a charge against the whole network of intelligence agencies in the country.”
HEZBOLLAH SPOKESMAN PROMOTES NEW IMAGE OF ARABS
In a recent interview, Hezbollah spokesman Hussein Rahhal discussed how Israel’s summer 2006 war against Hezbollah changed both the West’s vision of Arabs and the Arabs’ vision of themselves (al-Quds al-Arabi, July 13). Rahhal claims that the Arabs now see themselves as “capable of action,” and no longer as a people “who cannot do anything in the face of an advanced Western machine [the Israeli military] that is supported with a lifeline from the West.” He argued that the West now sees the Arab as one with the “will of steadfastness, confrontation and dedication, as well as the capability of fighting…who can be a match for the Israeli, who has 60 years of technical and financial support from the West…We have forced the West to look at us as equals.” Rahhal also analyzed the changed perception that Israelis have of themselves in the wake of the war. “There is a feeling of disappointment and failure [among Israelis],” he said. “This is because he has reached a conviction that if the Arabs had a will to fight, they cannot win. They are reassessing the situation with regard to all Arab armies. This is extremely important, and it is a strategic change that involves the Arab and Israeli individuals.”
SAUDI ARABIA MAKES SERIES OF NEW ARRESTS
On July 14, Saudi security officials arrested a number of individuals with suspected ties to terrorist activities. Saudi officials described the suspects as “people wanted for questioning in order to determine their positions” (al-Hayat, July 15). Security officials had apparently been monitoring the suspects for some time, as four of them were arrested at an amusement park in Abha, and one was apprehended in the city’s al-Jasha neighborhood (al-Hayat, July 15). Arrests were also made near the al-Rajihi mosque in the al-Khash quarter of Abha, which is well-known for its internet cafes and stores selling Islamic recordings. While an al-Hayat report on the arrests claims that only five were arrested, al-Jazeera reported that 12 were apprehended. According to the al-Hayat article, “Abha has witnessed a number of terror incidents. The most notable incident was in 2004 when the 12th suspect on the list of the 26 most wanted, Faris Bin-Shuwayl al-Zahrani, was arrested. He was described by observers as al-Qaeda’s ‘religious cell’ leader in Saudi Arabia.” Abha is one of the largest cities in Saudi Arabia’s southwest Asir region, a small section of which borders Yemen.