Adel Al Toraifi commentary on international Media

Smooth succession
“It is still not clear who will be named the deputy crown prince,” said Saudi political analyst Adel Al-Toraifi in a phone interview from Riyadh. “They may leave the decision for later.”
AL-AHRAM 4 – 10 August 2005 Issue No. 754
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2005/754/re1.htm

Saudi Islamists strike gold
“I anticipate that the government will appoint non-Islamists to balance the municipal councils,” said Adel Al-Toraifi, in an interview with the Weekly.
“I think the government did not want to interfere and change anything in the outcome of these elections, as they knew they could re-balance the outcome when they appoint the remaining seats of all the councils,” he added.
AL-AHRAM 28 April – 4 May 2005 Issue No. 740
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2005/740/re6.htm

In the Telegraph, Tim Butcher and Rasheed Abou-Alsamh (the latter writing from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia) quote ‘Adel Al-Toraifi, a writer and political analyst in the capital, Riyadh, [who] said he did not believe that women would be allowed to drive or vote in the next five years. Such a change of policy would risk antagonising the ultra-conservatives, whose support of the royal family has been crucial to the longevity of their rule. Mr Al-Toraifi said: “If they allow women to drive and vote, it will spell the end of their control over the population and it would be too dangerous for them.” ‘

Respects paid to newest monarch
Saudi political analyst Adel Al-Toraifi said a new generation of royals already is being groomed to take over when power passes to the next generation.
“Abdullah has appointed his son, Mutaab bin Abdullah, head of the National Guard, which is a very important post, nearly equivalent to that of minister of defense,” Mr. Al-Toraifi said.

Prince Sultan has appointed his son, Khaled, deputy defense minister, and powerful Interior Minister Naif has appointed his son, Muhammad, deputy minister of interior. So there does seem to be some planning going on in the royal family after all,” he said.

THE WASHINGTON TIMES August 4, 2005
http://washingtontimes.com/world/20050803-112025-7668r.htm

Saudis to select non-islamist

“I think the government will appoint non-Islamists to balance the municipal councils,” Saudi political analyst Adel Al-Toraifi said.
“I think the government did not want to interfere and change anything in the outcome of these elections, as they knew that they could rebalance the outcome when they appointed the other halves of all the councils,” he added.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/world/20050425-093841-5129r.htm
http://saudielection.com/en/vb303/showthread.php?t=213&goto=nextoldest

Saudis act to ensure calm after king’s death
However, Adel Al-Toraifi, a writer and political analyst in the capital, Riyadh, said he did not believe that women would be allowed to drive or vote in the next five years.
Such a change of policy would risk antagonising the ultra-conservatives, whose support of the royal family has been crucial to the longevity of their rule.
Wednesday 17 August 2005
Telegraph Group Limited
http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/08/02/wfahd02.xml

Saudis Give Insurgents a Month to Surrender
Los Angeles Times/June 24, 2004
“The government fights in a religious way because they don’t want to lose their legitimacy,” said Adel Toraifi, a Saudi researcher and writer who specializes in militant movements. “The difference is so slight between the government and the terrorists, so they can return to society without major problems.”

Abdullah pardons activists, lawyer
August 9, 2005
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
“The release of the three reformists was the right thing to do,” said Riyadh-based political analyst Adel Al-Toraifi. “It will show those released that there is a new environment of change”.

In Saudi Arabia, fresh recruits for Al Qaeda

“The picture the authorities had of Al Qaeda’s strength in Saudi Arabia was not accurate. They have more sympathizers and fighters than they thought, and their language of violence continues to find takers here and support among a segment of Saudi society that shares the common religious ideology of Wahhabism,” says Adel al-Toraifi, a columnist at the newspaper Al Watan.

“The problem is that we’re not dealing with the extremist thought that makes these men fertile ground for the call to violence; we’re only dealing with the violence,” says Mr. Toraifi.
April 16, 2004 edition Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0416/p06s02-wome.html

Saudi Arabia: Vanishing Ink

In an Al-Watan op-ed (Aug. 6), Adel Zayd al-Tarifi focused on financial support for terrorism. “Money transfers were happening prior to Sept. 11 even in the United States itself before such problems were detected in other countries such as Saudi Arabia,” he said. “And terrorist organizations benefited from charity activities in Saudi Arabia…under a curtain of misrepresentation [of themselves].”

Worldpress.org

http://www.worldpress.org/print_article.cfm?article_id=1620&dont=yes

Al Qaeda terror riles Saudi public
“This is the third-generation of Al Qaeda fighters, and a lot of their leadership has been killed,” says analyst Adel al-Toraifi, who follows the group closely. “There are fewer people to lead attacks.”
“The following period could be more dangerous if disgruntled or disillusioned young men decide to carry out attacks on their own,” says Toraifi.
June 21, 2004 edition

washingtonpost.com
Al Qaeda’s Return Revives Iraq Debate
Fatal Bombings Also Trigger Saudi Soul-Searching
washingtonpost.com Staff
Thursday, May 15, 2003Saudi columnist Adel Zaid Al-Tarifi, writing in Al-Watan, a pro-government daily, says the problem is the Saudi educational system.
“The jihad groups find ideological cover in the religious message spread by the mosques and schools. . . . Some fatwas [religious edicts] justified September 11; other fatwas depicted these events as ‘blessed [Islamic] raids.’ .. .Many of the pulpits of education, such as the school, the home, and the mosque, need reform today. Anyone who wants to attribute what happened to economic or psychological conditions is missing the truth.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A59219-2003May15?language=printer

Saudi Spinning

In the daily al-Watan, immediately after the bombings, ‘Adel Zaid Al-Tarifi wrote: “Jihad groups find ideological cover in the religious message spread by the mosques and schools . . . Fatwas, for example, that are issued by the leaders of the Jihad stream . . . have inflamed the emotions of many and provided a . . . basis for these acts. . . . During the Afghan and Iraq wars, the Fatwas sent many wretched young men to the hopeless battlefield. . . . The important question is this: What must be done? Many of the pulpits of education, such as the school, the home, and the mosque, need reform today . . . What can be done with people who think that anyone who does not agree with their fundamentalist path deviates from the path of righteousness? These events are not newborn in our society, as some would like to present them.”
05/16/2003
© Copyright 2004, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

Saudi Press: Initial Reactions to the Riyadh Bombings
Calls for Self-Examination
Following the bombings in Riyadh, some articles in the Saudi press called for criticism and reform of Saudi society. Columnist ‘Adel Zaid Al-Tarifi wrote: “…What many of the official sheikhs and columnists – who do not awaken until a catastrophe occurs – say about the phenomenon is inappropriate, and does not deal with the real causes and roots of the ideology of Jihad and of accusing [others] of heresy. They suffice by describing what took place as an imported ideology, and ignore the roots imprinted in our culture… Our religious message includes many phenomena of religious extremism. A quick glance at the Friday sermons in the mosques or at the Fatwas can attest to this…”
“The Jihad groups find ideological cover in the religious message spread by the mosques and schools… But even if we set aside the main reasons why the Jihad stream was formed, there are many other, selfish reasons… The Fatwas, for example, that are issued by the leaders of the Jihad stream, and even by the sheikhs of the Islamic awakening [stream] in the past two years, have inflamed the emotions of many and provided a legitimate basis for these acts. Some Fatwas justified September 11; other Fatwas depicted these events as ‘blessed [Islamic] raids.’ During the Afghan and Iraq wars, the Fatwas sent many wretched young men to the hopeless battlefield…”
“The important question is this: What must be done? Many of the pulpits of education, such as the school, the home, and the mosque, need reform today. Anyone who wants to attribute what happened to economic or psychological conditions is missing the truth. These conditions can account for the behavior of criminals, but cannot account for a terror event based on religious belief. Religious terror cannot be contained, because it is part of the religious belief of those who carry it out. What can be done with people who think that anyone who does not agree with their fundamentalist path deviates from the path of righteousness? Those who carry out these deeds are not victims, but criminals…”
“These events are not newborn in our society, as some would like to present them. It is enough to mention the bombings of 1996, and of 1997. Reactions to these events were diverse. What is important regarding this most recent event is that it must not push us towards further religious extremism, as has happened in the past. Further religious extremism will lead us to a ‘Saudi Manhattan.'”
“I wrote this article a day before the three bombings [and following the arrest of an Al Qa’ida cell in Saudi Arabia about a week ago], and I am sorry to say that the Saudi Manhattan has indeed happened.”(
Special Dispatch, 15. Mai 2003
http://www.memri.de/uebersetzungen_analysen/laender/persischer_golf/saudi_riyadh_15_05_03.html

November 2003, pages 19-20
washingtonpost.com
Special Report
Who’s Hiding What? Saudi Arabia and the Missing 28 Pages
Writing in al-Watan Aug. 6, Adel Zayd al-Tarifi pointed to Al-Bayoumi as another example of political spin, in part because he already had been interviewed before his return to Saudi Arabia from the U.S. In his al-Watan op-ed, al-Musa argued that it seemed suspicious that U.S. intelligence agencies trumped up Al-Bayoumi, when these very same agencies had released him and sent him back to Saudi Arabia with a plane ticket they had provided.
Argued Al-Tarifi in his al-Watan op-ed, “the issue of [rectifying] the funding of terrorism is dependent on a number of necessary supervisory controls over finances; money transfers were happening prior to Sept. 11 even in the U.S. itself before such problems were detected in other countries such as Saudi Arabia. And terrorist organizations benefited from charity activities in Saudi Arabia…under a curtain of misrepresentation [of themselves].”
As al-Tarifi summarized, if a country with very efficient administrative and security institutions such as the U.S. couldn’t detect terrorist activities before the events of Sept. 11, then Saudi Arabia had no hope of doing so.
Finally, as al-Tarifi pointed out, the importance of this latest crisis in U.S.-Saudi relations over the missing 28 pages is that it is a matter of “reputation.” Even if Saudi officials continue to maintain close ties with the White House and those government officials not politically motivated, he argued, Saudi Arabians are losing in the realm of American public opinion, and they need to reach out more and “explain themselves” better.
http://www.wrmea.com/archives/November_2003/0311019.html

NYtimes.com
March 7, 2004
The Jihadi Who Kept Asking Why
But Mansour is in a category of his own. As Adel al-Toraifi, a political-science student and friend of Mansour’s, told me, ”Mansour has personally experienced almost every role in modern Saudi society” — from his painful childhood, to his long history with Islamic scholarship, to his experience as an extremist and his political reformation. ”So if you want to understand this period of transition in Saudi Arabia, and the debates about reform, you must study Mansour.”
As Adel al-Toraifi, Mansour’s close friend explained, Mansour didn’t change because he wanted music and wine and women. ”There is no politics in Mansour,” he said. ”He didn’t change because he found a new ideology. He changed from thinking deep inside Islam.”
Intellectuals and reformists in Saudi Arabia have now examined this Salafiyya movement and used these young radicals as examples to set forth a theory that traces the lineage of today’s terrorists back to the early 20th century ”Brothers” — Bedouin tribesmen who embraced a Wahhabi revivalism so ferocious they were happy to die killing or converting other tribes as they conquered the peninsula. All Saudis know the story’s ending: the Brothers revolted against the king who’d breathed life into them, and he slaughtered most of them. But in the 80’s, the royal family resurrected the spirit of those ”Brothers” during the ”Islamic Awakening,” and exploited the resulting Salafiyya movement to spread Wahhabism around the world through mosques and Koranic schools and jihad. ”The famous leaders of the foreign jihadi groups in Chechnya, Afghanistan, Bosnia were Saudi,” Adel al-Toraifi maintained. Bin Laden’s top lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri ”depends on fatwas from Wahhabi ideology. We must be honest. Wahhabism was a creator of violence since the beginning of its history.” Yesterday’s pious heroes are today’s terrorists.
As unfathomable as it may be given the horrific events of Sept. 11, many Saudis — even those who are progressive — feel an ambivalent sympathy for this jihadi generation left over from Afghanistan — militants, not unlike the Vietnam veterans, who have been hung out to dry by their government, unable to readjust to civilian life and left to stew in their habits of violence.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/07/magazine/07SAUDIS.html

About altoraifi
Al Toraifi is the current Editor-in-Chief of Al Majalla, the leading Arab magazine. A specialist on Saudi foreign policy, he is recognized as a commentator and participant in televised programs for CNN, NBC, BBC and Al-Arabia TV. Awarded the post-graduate International Conflict Prize 2008 from Kingston University for outstanding work, Mr Al-Toraifi is currently a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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