Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)
The outside world knows Prince Mohammad bin Naif as the crown prince, deputy premier and the interior minister of Saudi Arabia. In the Kingdom, however, he is also known as the terrorism fighter and the sleepless minister. He earned these titles in the wake of his swift action against terrorists back in 2003. In the fight against terrorism, he achieved what many countries took years to accomplish in their anti-terror operations. Fighting terrorism is an uphill task for any country because sometimes the enemy is within. They are around us and difficult to identify. They could be hailing from faraway places and could be your next-door neighbor. Today, terrorism is not confined to a specific country or geographical location. These brainwashed people could show up anywhere. Last week a video surfaced on the Internet showing a former police commander from Tajikistan, Col. Gulmurod Khalimov. The video showed him bragging about working for the so-called Islamic State (IS). He not only issued threats to people of his region but also to the country that taught him the art of combating terrorism — the United States of America. Being from Tajikistan, he is also fluent in Russian, which gives him an edge over many others in recruiting foot soldiers for the IS from the Central Asian region. It is just one example indicating the complex nature of the fight against terrorism. It is very difficult to identify the enemy. This is exactly what happened in Dammam last Friday. A man disguised as a woman tried to sneak into the Al-Anood Mosque in a Dammam neighborhood. I don’t wish to repeat what has already been widely reported in the media. Those who became the victims of the dastardly act included relatives of a well-known writer, Kawther Alarbash. They were Abduljalil Alabrash and Mohammed Aleissa. One of them was on a university break. He had arrived from the US and was due to get married next month. The recent attacks indicate that the Kingdom is once again faced with a 2003 like situation. Unscrupulous elements are again on the move to drive a wedge between Saudis and to threaten the stability of the Kingdom. They have miserably failed in their attempts, which is evident from the strong response these attacks have elicited from the Saudis. They have shown to the world that sectarianism is not at all welcome in the Kingdom. Sunnis and Shiites stand united in the Kingdom — a fact that the terrorists had not been aware of. The Kingdom is mourning the loss of innocent lives. The citizens and the government are determined to eradicate the deviant ideology and its adherents from the soil of the Kingdom. The Saudi security apparatus is fully capable of fighting these elements but popular support will only make the operations against extremism more effective. It is an open secret that certain foreign forces, which are hell bent on disturbing the peace in the Kingdom, are the masterminds of such terrorist incidents. We should teach our youth to remain alert and not to pay attention to demagogues. We all have a duty to protect our country. Written by Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim. Dividing Saudi Society is Impossible reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim.