Nytt

Det går en stadig strøm av frivillige fra Saudi-Arabia til Syria. Offisielt er det ikke lov, men myndighetene gjør ingenting for å stanse trafikken.

New York Times Robert F. Worth har møtt en mann som har reist flere ganger for å kjempe på jihadistenes side. Hans fremstilling forteller mye om deres mindset. Hva som er drivkraften.

Abu Khattab (43) arbeider som sykehusadministrator hjemme. I Syria har han kjempet med våpen i hånd. Men han ble gradvis desillusjonert. Hans kamerater snakket om styresmaktene i hans hjemland og ellers i Gulfen som vantro som burde slaktes.

Men så var det to døde barn som fikk ham til å revurdere innsatsen: I en kystlandsby fant han to drepte barn, og han visste med én gang at det var hans egne som hadde gjort det.

Abu Khattab, a 43-year-old Saudi hospital administrator who was pursuing jihad on his holiday breaks, went to demand answers from his local commander, a notoriously brutal man named Abu Ayman al-Iraqi. The commander brushed him off, saying his men had killed the children “because they were not Muslims,” Abu Khattab recalled recently during an interview here.

It was only then that Abu Khattab began to believe that the jihad in Syria — where he had traveled in violation of an official Saudi ban — was not fully in accord with God’s will. But by the time he returned to Riyadh, where he now volunteers in a program to discourage others from going, his government had overcome its own scruples to become the main backer of the Syrian rebels, including many hard-line Islamists who often fight alongside militants loyal to Al Qaeda.

Khattab arbeider nå for et senter som tar sikte på å omskolere jihadister. Samtidig ser myndighetene gjennom fingrene med jihad-trafikken, og det kan bare bli være fordi de ser seg tjent med å støtte jihadistene.

syria.damaskus.bombingbildet: fra bombing av en bygning i Damaskus tirsdag, regjeringsstyrkene sto bak.

Saudi-Arabia ser Iran som hovedfienden. Det er ikke Bashar al-Assad. Den sekteriske konfrontasjonen er ikke til å ta feil av.

But the Saudis are also bent on ousting Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, and his patron, Iran, which they see as a mortal enemy. Their only real means of fighting them is through military and financial support to the Syrian rebels. And the most effective of those rebels are Islamists whose creed — rooted in the puritanical strain of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia — is often scarcely separable from Al Qaeda’s.

Jihadistene er de mest effektive drapsmaskinene. Derfor støtter Saudi-Arabia dem.

Det er en skitten krig. Abu Khattab er salafist, han vil at jihad skal føres etter strenge prinsipper for jihad, og de ser han ikke oppfylt i Syria. Derfor trakk han seg ut etter åtte turer.

Men når han forklarer motivasjonen for jihad gir han uttrykk for samme ideologi som de han forlot og samme sekteriske oppfatninger som dem: shiaer og alawitter er vantro.

But as Abu Khattab talked about Syria, his own convictions seemed scarcely different from the jihadists he had carefully denounced (two officials from the Interior Ministry were present during the interview). He made clear that he considered Shiite Muslims and Mr. Assad’s Alawite sect to be infidels and a terrible danger to his own people.

“If the Shiites succeed in controlling Syria, it will be a threat to my country,” Abu Khattab said. “I went to Syria to protect my country.”

At times, his sectarian feelings seemed to outshine his unease about the excesses of some of his more extreme comrades. He did not deny that he had often fought alongside members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, the brutal jihadist group affiliated with Al Qaeda.

Abu Khattab also mentioned proudly that he is no stranger to jihad. He fought as a teenager in Afghanistan (“With the government’s permission!”) and, a few years later, in Bosnia. He chose not to fight the Americans in Iraq “because there are too many Shiites there,” he said, with a look of distaste on his face.

Denne mannen skal en gang i uken overbevise unge menn om det fåfengte i å dra til Syria. Hvor ambivalent saudierne er, kan sees av det faktum at nevøen til leder av senteret, som har fått rosende fremstilling i internasjonal presse, i sommer ble drept i Syria. Moren lovpriste hans innsats på twitter.

Det var dårlig PR for Saudi-Arabia at 15 av 19 selvmordsbombere 9/11 var saudiere.

Saudi-Arabia var stofinansier av mujahedin i Afghanistan – mot Sovjetunionen. Da krigen var over vendte en del hjem og ble al-Qaida, og etter 9/11 vendte noen av dem seg mot kongedømmet. Derav kampanjen mot terror.

Men Saudi-Arabia møter seg selv i døren igjen i Syria: man støtter jihad i et annet land. Hvilken fallout får det denne gang?

Ikke minst ser man at forskjellen på den offisielle saudiske ideologien og al-Qaidas er syltynn. Det viser erfaringen:

More recently, the center suffered an even more stinging disappointment involving one of its best-known graduates, a reformed jihadist named Ahmed al-Shayea. He became famous in Saudi Arabia after surviving his own suicide bombing in Iraq in 2004, a bombing arranged by militants with Al Qaeda’s Iraqi branch.

Mr. Shayea was burned and disfigured, but after months in the hospital he emerged and proclaimed himself cured of the jihadist mind-set. He was known as the “living suicide,” and in 2009 the American author Ken Ballen devoted an entire chapter to a glowing portrait of him in his book, “Terrorists in Love.”

In November, Mr. Shayea slipped out of Saudi Arabia to Syria, where he is now fighting with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. He proudly trumpets his return to jihad on his Twitter feed, which features a picture of him clutching a rifle with his mangled hands.

Hvilken konsekvenser vil deltagelsen i jihad ha denne gang? Nå er hovedfienden Iran som benytter samme metoder: jihad mot jihad. Hva vil dette ha å si for forholdet til USA som er mer tilbøyelig til å være på samme side som Iran, mot sunni-ekstremismen. Saudi-Arabia har allerede offisielt erklært at forholdet ikke er som før.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/08/world/middleeast/saudis-back-syria-rebels-despite-a-lack-of-control.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20140108&_r=0