News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Riyadh attacks could prompt Saudi government to cooperate

While we abhor the Wednesday Islamic extemist attacks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the ensuing deaths and injuries, there could ultimately be some good that comes from this outrage.

Let's face it. The Saudi government has been loath to share information in the past that could have helped American intelligence come up with better terrorist assessments. Bear in mind that most of the terrorists in the Sept. 11 attacks were Saudi citizens, including mastermind Osama bin Laden.

In the past, Saudi police and other investigative organizations have turned down offers from the FBI and American intelligence organizations to join in, especially on attacks that have injured or killed Americans. In some cases, the offers received a flat refusal.

Now that bin Laden has urged his followers and other insurgents to attack the Saudi leadership and oil facilities, the government there will be more inclined to share intelligence and accept help warding off future attacks.

The latest event came when a car bomb was detonated by remote control near the Interior Ministry in central Riyadh — killing a bystander, according to Saudi TV — followed soon after by an explosion when two suicide attackers tried to bomb a troop recruitment center.

The gunmen who set off the ministry blast fled, but then engaged in a gunbattle with police in northern Riyadh that killed seven militants and wounded an undetermined number of officers, police said.

The extremists' biggest attack recently came Dec. 6, when militants said to belong to al-Qaida's Saudi branch stormed the U.S. consulate in Jiddah, killing nine people.

Although there have been attacks in the past, this one is unprecedented in its boldness.

Perhaps these events will lead the Saudi government to be more forthcoming in its efforts to stop these terrorists, not only in Saudi Arabia, but also around the world.

Intelligence agencies must be willing to share information, working to develop a worldwide plan to head off these attacks before they happen.

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