Saudi Blast Drives Push for Democracy

The bombing that killed 17 people in the Saudi capital is intensifying pressure for democratic reform in Saudi Arabia, and is likely to undercut the militants’ support among Arabs who previously sympathized to some degree with their goals.

While some have rejoiced over Saturday’s suicide car bombing, many in the Arab world are shocked that it targeted Arabs and Muslims. The bombing — the work of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network, according to U.S. and Saudi officials — hit a housing compound in Riyadh that the attackers must have known houses Arab families. As a result, said Saudi political analyst Dawood al-Shirian, many Saudis who felt some sympathy for bin Laden or even saw justification for the Sept. 11 attacks are now beginning to question his goals. “When they see the images of dead children, when they see the images of a dead mother, if one of their own dies, they will turn away from the militants,” said al-Shirian. “That’s what will isolate the militants.” Full Story

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