Jewish World Review June 28, 2004 / 9 Tamuz 5764

Dan Abrams

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Why only now is the Saudi Royal Family now seemingly cracking down on al Qaeda? | It's three years since we learned that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi. The Saudi Royal Family has been claiming that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are in it together. That this is our war on terror. And yet, it didn't really feel that way until the terrorists started hitting the Saudis hard at home. Until more of the quote, "Arab street turned against al Qaeda." And until its billions in oil revenues were threatened by the murder of Western here's keep the oil fields running. While, the Saudis started showing some resolve, yesterday the crown prince made it official.

But their idea of getting tough seems to be a negotiation of sorts. Crown Prince Abdullah seemed to be offering a limited amnesty to any "Militants who turned themselves in within 30 days," saying they will not face death penalty and will only be prosecuted if they commit acts that hurt others. Now the Saudi press machine saying that's not what they said. That they said they would guarantee their safety and a fair trial. That's all. To those who ignore the offer the prince said, "We swear by G-d that nothing will prevent us from striking with our full might."

Whether or not amnesty was offered, no dangerous al Qaeda fighters are really going to accept the offer. More importantly, the crown prince makes it sound like this is a new issue facing their nation. That they will finally strike with all their might next month after the 30-day period is over.

So, what have they been doing until now?

This sort of resolve is long overdue. Their newfound tenacity is a welcome development in the war on terror, but it's unfortunate that it is really new and a development.

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JWR contributor Dan Abrams anchors “The Abrams Report,” Monday through Friday from 9-10 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV. He also covers legal stories for “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Today” and “Dateline NBC.” To visit his website, click here. Comment by clicking here.



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