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Prepared by the
Institute for the Analysis of Global Security

January 21, 2004
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Terror's Next Target
Attacks on the West's oil and gas infrastructure -- from production facilities to pipelines and tankers -- are likely to be the next "mega" target of terrorists, and could wreak havoc with the world's economy, according to an in-depth IAGS analysis of the susceptibility of the energy industry featured in the latest Journal of International Security Affairs (Winter 2004).

Minding Its Business
Saudi Arabia, which has demonstrated its willingness to use its vast oil reserves as a foreign policy tool, has not acted to aid U.S. efforts to rebuild Iraq.

Fencing in looters and saboteurs in Iraq
Too many people in and outside of Iraq are hoping to deny Iraq a better future through a campaign of sabotage and plunder of the country's neglected oil facilities. The problem, and possible solutions.

Energy security and liquefied natural gas
Demand for natural gas has increased as have the security vulnerabilities presented by liquefied natural gas terminals and tankers.

Under the Radar

Oil, terrorism and drugs intermingle in Colombia
Seventy U.S. Special Forces soldiers are training Colombians to protect an oil pipeline.

Japan's struggle to secure future oil supply
Energy dependent Japan looks to Iran for oil, causing tension with the U.S.

Chad-Cameroon pipeline project put to test
Will the pipeline, partially financed by the World Bank, improve the lot of Chad and Cameroon or exacerbate existing corruption and strife?

Natural resource curse hits São Tomé
A tiny West African country illustrates a well known problem.

On the technology front

Fuel Cell Locomotive for Military and Commercial Railways
An international consortium is developing the world’s largest fuel cell vehicle, a 109 metric-ton, 1 MW locomotive.

Fuel cell power plant installed at NJ Sheraton
A stationary fuel cell will supply 250 kilowatts of electric power as well as heat to the Sheraton Edison Hotel, accounting for about 25 percent of the hotel's electricity and hot water.

Fuel cell scooters for Europe and China
Palcan's fuel cell powered scooter is designed to address the world's need for a low-end mass transport vehicle.

U.S. Air Force to get fuel cell bus
Fuel cell powered thirty-foot hybrid bus to be stationed at the Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.

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Back Issues

Does Saudi Arabia border on Iraq?

Hearing administration officials commenting on terror attacks against coalition forces in Iraq carried out by "foreign fighters infiltrating from neighboring countries" one might think that Iraq borders only two countries: Syria and Iran. In September, U.S. administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer told reporters that 248 foreign fighters were captured by U.S. forces, most of them Syrians and Iranians. A month later, in response to the multiple bombing in Baghdad, President George W. Bush alluded to the fact Iran and Syria were the source of foreign fighters: "We expect them to enforce borders, prevent people from coming across borders." Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld too said between 200 and 300 people believed to be foreigners have been captured, with a "high percentage" from Syria. These lines have been echoed a number of times by State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher who promised that "the issue of people coming across the border from Syria and [..] Iran, remains a concern of ours." U.S commander in Iraq Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez recently said: "We're seeing Yemenis, we're seeing Sudanese, we're seeing Syrians and Egyptians, to name a few."

Without belittling the destructive role of Iranian and Syrian fighters, one group of nationals stands out in its absence. The same two-word country omitted in the report of the joint inquiry into intelligence activities before and after September 11, is again missing from the coverage of the guerrilla war currently waged against the U.S. in Iraq.

Yet, there is ample evidence to suggest that Saudi citizens not only cross the 475-mile-long border with Iraq in order to join the jihad against the U.S. but that they also make some of the most dangerous terrorists U.S. forces face. According to the Financial Times, up to 3,000 Saudi men have gone missing in Saudi Arabia in recent months. al-Qaeda sympathizers who have heeded calls for holy war by Osama Bin Laden and other preachers find the Saudi-Iraqi desert border easy to cross. Pressure on Islamists in Saudi Arabia since the bombings in May and November in Riyadh has increased the motivation of the jihadists to flee to Iraq's Sunni triangle in search of safe houses. Back in August, a number of Saudis were captured seeking to attack American troops in Iraq. Iraqi policeman guarding a checkpoint outside the Baghdad Hotel on October 12, testified that the suicide bomber who blew up the hotel killing eight people chatted with him in a dialect of Arabic which sounded Saudi or Yemenite. The more recent suicide attack, on October 27, against the Red Cross headquarters and three police stations in Baghdad was carried out by four bombers, at least two of which appear to have been Saudis.

Despite evidence that some of the most dangerous and suicidal Arab terrorists come in from Saudi Arabia, Washington still refuses to publicly discuss the role of Saudis in the Iraqi insurgency or refer to Saudi Arabia in the same tone and wording used in the case of Iran and Syria. There has been no demand from the Saudis to beef up their military presence along the Iraqi border. Nor there has been any special effort by the Saudi government, which claims to be a close ally to the U.S, to block the surge of jihadists to Iraq. Instead, the Saudis, through their spokesman in Washington, Adel Al-Jubeir, were quick to pass the blame to the U.S., announcing that if extremists are getting across the border, it is the responsibility of U.S. forces to stop them.

This is a scandalous attitude. With active military manpower of 150,000 men and with no enemy threatening their country since the removal of Saddam Hussein by the U.S., the Saudis are far better equipped to seal the border than the overstretched 130,000-strong U.S. military in Iraq. U.S. troops face a monumental task controlling tribal lands roughly the size of California. The last thing they can afford to do is patrol Iraq's southern desert. That is what Saudi troops are for and some Saudi vigilance along the border is the minimum the U.S. can expect in return for removing Saudi Arabia's biggest menace. The Saudi regime's complicity in the actions of its citizens in Iraq is similar to its complicity in the actions of al Qaeda prior to and following September 11. In both cases the U.S. paid the price. Now, when America's strategic objective of bringing stability to Iraq is undermined by the Saudis' laxity, the least we can do is express our dissatisfaction with their actions, or lack thereof.

Gal Luft is Executive Director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security.

Also see:
Fencing in looters and saboteurs in Iraq: Too many people in and outside of Iraq are hoping to deny Iraq a better future through a campaign of sabotage and plunder of the country's neglected oil facilities. The problem, and possible solutions.

Minding Its Business: Saudi Arabia, which has demonstrated its willingness to use its vast oil reserves as a foreign policy tool, has not acted to aid U.S. efforts to rebuild Iraq.

Iraq Pipeline Watch: Attacks on Iraqi pipelines, oil installations, and oil personnel