The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.

In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The "Cannon Fodder" tells his tale 

I know a number of schoolteachers. One of the things about them that has always amazed me, is their ability to sum up a child just by looking at his face. "He's ambitious, he'll go far", or "Dead eyes. Look at those dead eyes. He's trouble", or "I'm afraid there's not a lot in there". I never saw what they saw, but then I didn't have their experience, and they usually turned out to be right.

Take a look at this face. Even I can tell that "The lights are on but there's no-one at home". "The wheel may be spinning but the hamster's not there". Not the shiniest date in the bunch, or the wisest camel in the herd. But I'm not going to make fun of him, he's too easy a target. However he is a member of a very exclusive group.

He is Ahmad ibn Abdullah Al-Shayie, he is a failed suicide bomber, and you don't come across many of those. His tale, (for he can tell it, being a failed suicide bomber), is recounted here, and soon he'll be on TV. One day he was just an ordinary Saudi kid whose progress thru the Saudi educational system had been that of a log in a slow-moving river - ponderous, not really getting anywhere fast, certainly not picking anything up on the way. He'd never have mastered geometry in a million years. However he did pick up the bit about the Joooos being liars, and how we are better than non-believers, and Jihad is good, because that kept getting drummed into him. But he doesn't have a very sophisticated theological or historical understanding, and all those ideas got a bit mixed up. Where was he born? Buraydah, in Qassim. Somehow, I'm not surprised. But no jokes about Qassim today.

So Ahmad graduates from school. He's not bright enough to get a job in a Call Center, and too stuck-up to work alongside those Indians on the supermarket check-out. He would normally look forward to an existence of PlayStation, satellite TV, McDonalds, and trying to get past the doorman into a "family-only" shopping mall. The nearest he'd come to danger would be driving around with his pals in some old wreck, no seatbelts, failing to complete a hi-speed u-turn and getting wrapped around a lamp-post.

However these days, just across our northern border, there is excitement and adventure, beckoning our no-hopers like a beacon. Iraq.

Ahmad said he had gone to Iraq out of a conviction that he should do something to help his Iraqi brothers though he had not consulted scholars about his plans and in fact ignored the advice of his parents and family.

Just two clarifications there. "Iraqi brothers" means "Iraqi Sunni brothers", because even with his limited understanding, he knows that he'll be killing Iraqi Shiites; however he's a good Sunni and like all other Sunnis, doesn't approve of Sunni chest-slapping and other strange ways. Secondly, it was undoubtedly a "scholar", some Imam or teacher with Al Qaeda connections, who, far from discouraging him, actually recruited him in the first place. "Listen Ahmad, you're a good Muslim, there's nothing for you here, you could go to Iraq and fight for the Muslim Brotherhood, think how much better Paradise will be than what you have now. You'll die eventually anyway, so why not go sooner and guarantee yourself the place that all Jihadis have in Paradise?" Fair enough, he says.

....he had entered Iraq through Syria with the help of smugglers.
.... He said he was taken to an Al-Qaeda cell in Doura district in the south of Iraq where he was trained to drive an oil tanker.

Now Ahmad is not trained to fire a rocket launcher or a machine gun. That would be a bit beyond him, and anyway, that's reserved for the Iraqi insurgents who are mostly army trained and certainly plan to "fight another day". Why go and kill yourself when hordes of stupid Saudi kids are streaming across the border asking for the privilege? The Iraqi insurgents are not daft. So he learns to drive his oil tanker. Then comes the big day.

On the day of explosion, he was told to take the tanker to the Al-Mansour neighborhood. “They asked me to stop the tanker near a concrete barrier, saying someone would come to receive the tanker from me.

Do you know, I don't think he's necessarily being disingenuous here. There's just a chance that he actually believes that story. On the other hand, perhaps he's just a lousy liar. Anyway..

But no sooner had I stopped the tanker than it exploded,” he said.

I don't suppose they'd have trusted him with the detonator. Probably some Iraqi with a radio-controlled one at a safe distance.

The young man was luckily ejected from the tanker by the force of the blast,
Ahmad who sustained severe burns all over his body was arrested by Iraqi police who later handed him over to Saudi authorities.

...where he is being nurtured by Saudi medical resources, having killed....

12 innocent Iraqis, including seven members of the same family

He's now going to appear on TV, supposedly to discourage others. However, for those who are reassured by the fact that suicide bombing is not a hereditary profession, take heed of the fact that Saudi Arabia's unfulfilled womenfolk are fuelling one of the largest birthrates in the world, and there are plenty more where Ahmad came from.

Also, and I've no doubt that this opinion will not be universally popular, ten years ago Ahmad and his like would have spent their lives in useless but low-key hedonism, eventually dying a peaceful but definitely lonely death. Iraq has changed all that. For those who believe that invading Iraq has somehow reduced the world's sum total of terrorists, think of Ahmad, and all those who preceded him, and all those who will follow him.

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