2003 Press Release

Statement from Press Conference at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
Adel Al-Jubeir, Foreign Policy Advisor to Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz

[Washington, D.C.] - The terrorist attacks   in Riyadh were barbaric and heinous crimes that will never be forgiven.  Those who committed these nefarious acts represent the cruelty and inhumanity of a primitive mind-set that seeks to sow fear and pain in the lives of innocent people.  The victims – Saudis, Americans, Lebanese, Jordanians, British, Filipinos, Irish, Swiss, and other nationalities – were all living side-by-side, sharing a neighborhood, and raising their children in peace.

Our hearts go out to all who have lost loved ones. Our sympathies are with them during their time of pain.

The terrorists made no distinction as to race, religion or nationality; their unconditional hatred is a perversion of humanity’s higher aspirations.  The victims, who were living together peacefully despite their cultural diversity, were practicing the basic tenets of tolerance and human decency that these terrorists in ignorance and ignominy have declared war upon.  Progress and peace were the targets of these attacks. 

When our countrymen and our guests are murdered in their homes, when parents lose their children, it galvanizes our determination to find everyone who may have contributed to these crimes - and to exact just retribution. No person should have to suffer the ordeal of picking up the charred remains of loved ones, and then having to pick up the pieces of their life.  No faith justifies or condones the killing of innocents: certainly not the Islamic faith, which teaches that the killing of an innocent soul is tantamount to the killing of all humanity.

This week, we clearly lost a battle in the war on terrorism. When you lose a battle, it is important to learn the lessons of that battle, and not to waste time pointing fingers and blaming your allies.  We must learn from our mistakes, because our enemies are learning from theirs.

Should we have done more?  Of course.  We wish we’d sent a hundred soldiers to guard the victims, and if we had known exactly where the cowards would strike we would have done that and more.  But we did not know specifically where they would strike, and no amount of second-guessing will change that fact.

If I could leave you with one message here today, it would be that these attacks illustrate that President Bush is correct when he says, time and again, that we are allies in a war with terrorism.  We will win some battles and we will lose some.  But we must remain focused on winning the war, and we will.

A few months ago, I presented our first report on Saudi cooperation in the War on Terrorism.  The report outlined the many actions we were taking to cut off terrorist finances and bring down the Al-Qaeda network.  Since that time, Saudi Arabia has taken additional bold steps that, with U.S. support and cooperation, will deliver additional blows to the terrorists.

First, I am announcing here today that Saudi Arabia has taken additional measures to crack down on charities and prevent money that is meant for good causes to be diverted to terrorism by criminals.  Now in effect, no charitable organizations can give money outside of Saudi Arabia, other than through highly-controlled and government-supervised channels. 

Second, we are announcing that the Al-Haramain Foundation is closing its operations in ten countries outside Saudi Arabia.  We have worked with the Foundation to vet its offices, and determined that the backgrounds of many non-Saudis who worked in them were not clear. 

We will fight the terrorists and those who support them, with determination and vigor on all fronts.  We will use every means possible to track down those responsible and bring them to justice.  And we will not rest until the safety of our citizens and residents is assured.  We will act independently, as well as collectively with peace-loving nations, to wage a fierce and merciless war against terrorism in order to eradicate this deadly disease that threatens all societies.  And we will succeed, let there be no doubt about this.

Saudi Arabia will not be intimidated, but we have been provoked. As His Royal Highness Crown Prince Abdullah stated in his speech this past week: “There can be no acceptance or justification for terrorism. Nor is there a place for any ideology which promotes it, or beliefs which condone it.” There is no place for terrorism in Saudi Arabia or anywhere else in the world. Civilization is an all-encompassing forward movement, leaving little room for backward currents and regressive and deviant dissidents.

Make no mistake, the Al-Qaeda bombings were aimed as much against the Saudi government as they were against the United States. 

Why do they hate us?

Because we are trying to move our country forward.  To modernize, innovate and build a civil society.  They want to turn back the clock and return the country to the dark ages.

They hate us because we want to improve relations with the world. They want to sever ties and lock the doors.

The tragic events in Riyadh make clear that the war against terrorism is far from over.  If those responsible for this crime believe they can terrorize us and weaken our resolve, they are mistaken.  If they think they will disrupt our unity, they are dreaming. 

Monday’s tragedy has galvanized our country.  It has delivered a call to action for every citizen to stand together against the forces of terrorism that threaten us.  Our resolve, steadfastness and determination are greater than ever. 

We will work with all peace-loving countries to root out this evil.  We have received a delegation from the U.S. to help in the investigation, and we expect an additional delegation to depart for the Kingdom today.