NEW YORK — An article published last week in a slick Al Qaeda online magazine calls on jihadists in the Arabian Peninsula to follow a directive from Usama bin Laden and attack “oil interests that provide the Crusaders with oil.”
Those “interests,” the article states, could also include facilities owned by Venezuela, Mexico and Canada.
The article, entitled “Bin Laden and the Oil Weapon,” and posted Feb. 8 in an issue of the once-dormant e-zine “Voice of Jihad,” calls on the Saudi branch of Al Qaeda to strike oil-related targets, “as instructed by our [emir], Sheikh Usama bin Laden.”
The latest issue of “Voice of Jihad” appears after a nearly two-year hiatus, and just days after the reappearance on the Web of the Al Qaeda training manual “al Battar,” indicating a possible resurgence of the Saudi node of Al Qaeda, aka the Al Qaeda Organization in the Arabian Peninsula, according to Stratfor, a Web-based global intelligence monitor.
While the article mentions that attacks should come against oil-producing facilities in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, it also mentions facilities belonging to Venezuela, Canada and Mexico.
“Do not overlook that the United States spent much on the technology of alternative energy, and it will spend more and seriously, and this is an indication that in the long run America may relinquish the Middle East or reduce its dependence on it, and is content with Canada oil, Mexico, Venezuela and some new agents,” the article states.
“Therefore, [jihadists] must hit the oil interests in all of the regions that the United States benefits from, not in the Middle East only.”
The article also mentions how bin Laden wants any attacks recorded, from start to finish, to be shown to international audiences.
“Sheikh Usama’s directions are clear and frank in targeting the oil interests … and the beauty of the target choice, and the collection of the documentary media materials of the operation, to be complete to all operation stages from the planning, the preparation and the execution,” the article states.
The Saudi faction of Al Qaeda, once active in the region, has long called for the overthrow of the Saudi royal family, of which bin Laden is a member.
While one of the smaller Al Qaeda groups in the region, the group’s threats and capabilities cannot be dismissed. It claimed responsibility for a May 2003 terrorist attack in Riyadh that killed nine Americans and wounded 14 when three large car bombs were detonated inside a Western housing compound.
The group also claimed responsibility for the December 2004 attacks against the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah and the Saudi Interior Ministry in Riyadh.
Saudi security forces cracked down on the group in June 2004, arresting several members while others are believed to have fled to Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Iran and other Al Qaeda-friendly states.
The group resurfaced in February 2006 with a raid on an oil facility in the eastern town of Abqaiq.
This latest issue mentions the Abqaiq attack, which the Saudi oil ministry said did minimal damage, and claims that a few of the militants who participated in the raid “are still alive and still fighting.”
The article trumpets the jihadists’ comeback with an introductory note that reads, “”¦ after a long time of being away, we return now and our return will uncover [the Saudi rulers’] lies and reveal all facts and clarify everything.”
It also declares the faction’s top leadership’s allegiance to the Al Qaeda chieftain:
“We promise Usama bin Laden that we will continue on our path and never change until its victory or martyrdom because your soldiers in the peninsula are working toward achieving what will make you happy and make the believers happy.”