Six facts about countering terrorism in Saudi Arabia

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Six facts about countering terrorism in Saudi Arabia

  • 22 November 2016
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1- Since 2011, Saudi Arabia has been victim to 98 terrorist attacks, resulting in more than 90 fatalities and over 608 people being seriously injured. In addition to these figures, the security forces suffered 65 fatalities and over 390 injured personnel.

2- In 2009, there was failed attempt to assassinate the then Deputy Minister of the Interior, Prince Muhammad Bin Naif Al Saud (now Crown Prince). The attack was carried out by a terrorist who was 85th on the wanted list of terrorists, using mobile phone technology to detonate the explosives he had concealed on his body.

3- The spate of terror attacks represented a painful period in the collective memory of Saudis. However, Saudi Arabia, despite these attacks, has left an impression on the rest of the world through its innovative and determined measures to erase terror from its soil. The Kingdom successfully adopted a ‘soft’ approach to its counter terrorism strategy, which in turn, has been adopted by a number of countries. The effectiveness of this strategy has become known as the ‘Saudi Counter-terrorism Model’.

4- The Ministry of Education launched a series of lectures and programmes in schools aimed at creating awareness from a young age of the dangers of extremism and the destructive effects of terror and violence. Students are made aware of the many effects of terror on society and the important role that the general public can play in protecting the nation from terror. The aim of these programmes has also been to create greater parental and family awareness of the issue.

5- In August 2003, the Council of Ministers approved a new set of legislation which imposes sever penalties for money laundering and financing of terror. Those convicted will face a 15-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $1,000,000 USD. The legislation also warned against financial dealings with unknown parties, with banks being obliged to maintain records of all financial transactions up to ten years. It also called for the establishment of special units to investigate suspicious financial transactions, as well as setting up a system that would allow for formalized international cooperation with other nations over money laundering.

6- Saudi Arabia extended the scope of its fight against terror beyond its borders, acknowledging that it was dealing with internationally- organized terror. This led it to seek international involvement and cooperation. On 5th February 2005, Saudi Arabia hosted the Counter-Terrorism International Conference, in Riyadh. Over 50 Muslim and non-Muslim nations participated, in addition to international, regional and Arab organizations. The late King Abdallah bin Abdulaziz called for the establishment of an international counter-terrorism centre which would allow for the sharing of intelligence to help prevent future attacks.

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