Authorities in Saudi Arabia, according to Al-Sharq al-Awsat writing in Arabic, have arrested 149 persons organized in 19 cells on charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism. The cells were operating independently of one another. Among their alleged targets were Saudi government buildings and military installations. Aljazeera Arabic is reporting that some intended to hit petroleum facilities but Saudi officials are downplaying that charge. (Oil investors are nervous creatures and Riyadh doesn’t want a spike in petroleum futures that would accelerate even further the rush to build wind turbines in the West.
I found it amusing that the Aljazeera Arabic report says that the suspects were accused by Saudi officials of spreading hate speech and encouraging the denunciation of other Muslims as infidels. In the 18th century, the Wahhabi school of Islam was denounced by the urbane Ottoman sultans in Istanbul on precisely these grounds. But Wahhabism is changing, and trying to escape the shadow of al-Qaeda. For one thing, Wahhabis have had a more than two century-old alliance with the Saudi dynasty, whereas al-Qaeda wants to overthrow it.