by Stephen Schwartz
On Dec. 21, a terrorist blew himself up in the U.S. military mess hall in Mosul, in northern Iraq. Twenty-two people were killed, including U.S. soldiers and contractors.
And now comes big news: The perpetrator was the oldest son of a diplomat from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, our alleged ally in the War on Terror.
On Monday, the Saudi-owned daily Asharq Al-Awsat identified the butcher responsible: 20-year old Ahmad Sayyid Ahmad al-Ghamdi, a Saudi medical student.
The bomber acted as a member of Ansar al-Sunnah (Volunteers of Sunni Islam), one of the most violent terror groups in Iraq, and an al Qaeda ally.
The name "al-Ghamdi" should ring bells; the family is large, and three of its members were involved in the 9/11 assault.
The Saudi daily, and Western media, identified the Mosul bomber, and even said they had spoken with his father. But no one has mentioned who the father is: Sayyid al-Ghamdi, former head of the Saudi diplomatic mission in Sudan, a country ruled by an Islamist regime that once played host to Osama bin Laden himself.
The diplomat has been named by the Saudi Institute, a Washington-based human-rights monitoring group with unimpeachable sources inside the kingdom. (The information office of the Royal Saudi Embassy in Washington did not respond to a call yesterday for comment.)
The bomber's father told journalists his son had stayed in Sudan after the diplomat returned to Riyadh. But the son then cleaned out his personal bank account and told his father he was headed for Iraq to kill Americans.
Arab-language media, including Saudi newspapers and Web sites, have disclosed that Saudi subjects make up the overwhelming majority of the "foreign fighters" involved in suicide terrorism in Iraq, from Fallujah to Baghdad, and from Mosul to Basra.
But Ali al-Ahmed of the Saudi Institute, and other Saudi dissidents, complain that U.S. authorities have failed to compel the Saudis to shut off the flow of jihadists northward.
Instead, 26 prominent Saudi clerics, most of them paid by the regime, signed a fatwa on Nov. 5 calling for continued jihad against the United States and the new military and police structures in Iraq.
None of the signatories — all of them adherents of Wahhabism, the official Islamic sect in Saudi Arabia — has been questioned or suspended from religious duties since the fatwa was issued.
In addition, the terrorist responsible for a Christmas Eve fuel-truck bombing in the Mansour neighborhood of Baghdad, which killed nine people, has been identified as a Saudi subject, 23-year-old Ahmad Abdallah Abd al-Rahman al-Shayea, of Riyadh.
And so the deception continues.
The bottom line remains the same as it was on Sept. 11: President Bush has to call the Saudis to account for their financing of the Wahhabis and their terrorism.