Saudi Arabia orders return of native militants

Saudi Arabia orders return of native militants
Sat Mar 8, 2014 14:18:15

Saudi Arabia has called on its citizens waging insurgency wars abroad to return back to the kingdom within 15 days or face imprisonment.

The Friday ultimatum was an extension of a month-long deadline given to Saudis fighting outside the country to return home, the interior ministry said. Those failing to comply face penalties of three to 20 years in prison.

The kingdom’s authorities claim they want to deter Saudis from joining insurgents in Syria and posing a security risk once they return home.

This is while, numerous media outlets and political analysts have accused Saudi Arabia of supporting terrorist groups in Syria since 2011.

The statement, carried by official Saudi Press Agency, also designated groups such as Al-Qaeda’s branches in Yemen and Iraq, the al-Nusra Front and the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as terrorist groups.

The development comes as the named terror groups are widely believed to be sponsored by elements tied to the Wahhabi monarchy in Saudi Arabia.

On Thursday, Saudi state television for the first time broadcast the “confessions” of an extremist who returned from Syria, as the kingdom distanced itself from radicals in the Syrian foreign-hatched conflict.

Sulaiman Al-Subaie, 25, who grew popular in his homeland for his posts on video-sharing app Keek, reportedly joined in August 2013 the most radical group fighting in Syria, the ISIL.

“The situation in Syria is not as portrayed in the media,” Al-Subaie said in a rare interview aired on Saudi television late Wednesday.

“What is amazing is that Saudis are killing fellow Saudis in the fighting between ISIL and Nusra Front,” both al-Qaeda franchises in Syria.

Al-Subaie said in his “confessions” that the death of his brother, a terrorist, as well as “pictures of dead Syrian children” had prompted him to join the war.

“I went to Qatar, from where I travelled to Turkey” before being led into Syria by a smuggler.

He said he wanted to join the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front but “upon my arrival," he added, "I was told that I have now become a member of ISIL,” a rival terrorist group also tied to al-Qaeda. 

Al-Subaie decided to quit the group after realizing that his Twitter account, followed by thousands in Saudi Arabia, was being used to broadcast “messages inciting” violence against Saudi rulers and clerics.


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