The Saudi Regime Is Pro-Islamist but Anti-Al Qaeda by Abel Ashes
The Saudi government supports Salafists but not Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda has as a stated aim, the overthrow of the Royal Family. There are accusations that Omar al-Bayoumi funded 9/11 hijackers and whether that is or is not the case, it is also the case that support for Al Qaeda is punishable by death as an act of treason in the Saudi Kingdom and that the Al Qaeda leadership have long considered the Saudi regime to be enemies worthy of death.
Some would argue that the Saudi regime is playing both sides of a game between Al Qaeda and the West. I would say that this is true if one substitutes “Jihadism”, “Wahabism”, or “Sunni extremism” for the term “Al Qaeda”, but Al Qaeda is a specific organization that is anti-Saudi and the Saudi regime is anti-Al Qaeda. Among Al Qaeda’s chief concerns and objectives has long been the overthrow of the Saudi Royal Family and their replacement by a Taliban style Salafist regime.
Osama Bin Laden, a former Saudi citizen, had his citizenship revoked for inciting rebellion against the the Royal Family whom he did not view as true Muslims. Bin Laden’s list of grievances against the Saudi regime included their allowing US troops to be stationed on Saudi soil from the time of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, their love of money and extravagant spending and decadent lifestyles, to their general collaboration with other regimes deemed by Al Qaeda to be apostate regimes. Bin Laden’s complaints also included more personal concerns like their laughing off his offer to use Al Qaeda to defend The Kingdom from a possible Iraqi invasion during The Gulf War and of course culminating in his expulsion from his homeland by the regime.
I seriously doubt that Al Qaeda leaders such as Bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri have faked their opposition to the Saudi Royals. My take on it is that the Saudi Royal family and the Saudi government, just like any other government, is not a monolith and there are fifth columns and pockets of dissent, both positive and negative, including some very negative fifth columns which support Al Qaeda. Saudi Arabia used to walk the line between “Western decadence” and piousness as the guardians of the two holiest sites of Islam until 1979, when the siege at Mecca forced them to take a more hardline Wahabi position to appease the radicals out of fear of being overthrown. Overall I think the Saudi Royal Family worships money more than the fictitious Allah, Whereas the Al Qaeda worship Allah more than money. The Saudi Islamic clerics probably fall somewhere in between and many of them likely do support Al Qaeda in many ways. In my opinion all three factions are vile and evil oppressive forces that keep the Arab people enslaved.
The Saudis absolutely support many non-Al Qaeda Islamist radicals and I am absolutely sure that many Saudis, including some in positions of authority, support Al Qaeda. However such support for Al Qaeda cannot be as a matter of official Saudi policy since it is an act of treason due to the fact that Al Qaeda has as one of its publicly stated aims the overthrow of the Saudi regime. The Saudi government as a matter of policy is anti-Al Qaeda not just to appease the US, but because Al Qaeda is anti-Saudi.The Saudis are funding Islamists such as the supposedly “moderate” Ennadha political party in Tunisia as well as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and they are funding Islamists who form a large part of the Free Syrian Army who seek to impose a Saudi style regime upon Syria in place of the secular revolution demanded by the freedom loving Syrians who originally began the protests against Bashar Al Assad’s brutal regime.
I think that currently there is probably not a single regime in the world that Al Qaeda approves of. Their allies are the likes of radical non-state actors in the cause of ultra right wing, fascist, theocratic, Sunni, Salafist Islam such as Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Shabab in Somalia, the Islamist radicals in Mali, Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, some of the Salafists in Tunisia and Syria and Iraq and the Pakistani and Afghani Talibans (separate groups). I don’t think Al Qaeda are supported by any governments as a matter of policy, not even Pakistan. Fifth columns absolutely exist in many governments (most especially in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia) and these agents do provide them with support. Even Sudan is seen as having betrayed Bin Laden to the United States. If Mali were to be officially taken over and ruled by Islamist radicals or if Al Shabab had been successful in imposing themselves upon all of Somalia and instituting an official government or if the Taliban came back to power in Afghanistan, only then would there be any governments in the world that Al Qaeda would not oppose.
Al Qaeda is but one organization, a very well organized paramilitary Sunni radical militia in a sea of Islamist radical groups worldwide that are at times enemies and at times allies of one another. Many Islamist groups are anti-Al Qaeda although they share with Al Qaeda the insane goal of enslaving the Middle East and the rest of the planet under some form or version of Shariah Law. Instead of a “War On Terror”, all of humanity should be involved in twin campaigns against theocracy (Islamic or not) and in opposition to the intentional killing of innocent people in warfare and terrorism alike. Al Qaeda and all Islamist groups are primarily motivated by theocratic aims of imposing religious law upon unbelievers and those who they do not think are practicing Islam “correctly”. Once again, religion is the root of the problem.