Act of terrorism in Moscow Metro caused the version of “Saudi terrorists”.
Many Russian and foreign media wrote that Saudi militant Abu al-Valid al-Gamidi (see the photo) was involved in this act of terrorism in Moscow Metro, along with taking hostages in Moscow Musical Theater, and conducting explosions in the town of Essentuki and the National Hotel in Moscow.
Russian authorities have always stated that foreign mercenaries (Arabs in the first place) are key players in the militant units in Chechnya. According to Russian Special Services, Arabs became the leaders of the gangs in Chechnya.
”Saudi version” means that the sponsors of the terrorist act were located abroad, in one of the Middle-Eastern countries. Russian media have reported many times that Chechen militants receive most of their funds from so-called Islamic Charity Foundations with headquarters in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arabic Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan and others. The most well-known of these foundations are Global Islamic League, International Islamic Salvation Organization “al-Igasa”, Global Supreme Council on Mosques, International Charity Association “Taiba”, Abraham al-Abraham Foundation and others. The headquarter of most of them are located in Saudi Arabia. Formally these institutions are self-governed and not connected with the governments of their countries. However, these charity foundations cannot be absolutely independent from the countries’ authorities. The authorities can influence them to gain certain political benefits.
The organizations most often accused of assisting terrorists are al-Agasa, Taiba, Saar Foundation, Moslem Brothers, Charity Society of Qatar. There are allegations that they sent Chechen gang leaders dozens of million dollars. For example, in September 2003 Russian Federal Security Service made public the information that al-Valid had received $3 million from Moslem Brothers, and terrorist acts were sponsored with part of this money. No doubt this was not the only case of donating. In December 2003 Al-Jaseera broadcast the statement of the terrorist with the promise to organize acts of terrorism in Russia conducted by women-martyrs.
At the same time, Saudi authorities have stated many times that the charity foundations in their country are not involved in sponsoring terrorists. In 1999 in Saudi Arabia tough laws were passed against money-laundering that may result in sponsoring terrorist networks, such as Al-Quaeda (it leader Osama Bin Laden is Saudi). Yet, these laws did not prevent 15 Saudis from participating in the 9/11 hijacking (15 out of 19 hijackers). This gave Western countries special services to accuse Saudi authorities of not solving the problem of financing terrorists, and even state that Saudi government may be involved in the terrorist attacks.
There is no proof that Saudi authorities are involved in the act of terrorism in Moscow.
Moreover, recently Russia and Saudi Arabia enforced their cooperation both in economic and political spheres (projects on exploring oil and gas deposits and recent visit of Chechen President Ahmat Kadyrov in Saudi Arabia).
British newspapers were the first to publish the information of the “Saudi version” of the terrorist attack in Moscow, then Russian media followed with their reports. According to the opinion of the expert on Russian-Saudi relations, the two countries still make their judgments relying on the articles in Western media. After 9/11 Western mass media have unfriendly outlook to Saudis.
However, despite the official relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia improved, public opinion in Saudi Arabia is very aggressive to Russia. Many Saudis believe that Russia fights not criminals, but Moslems in Chechnya. Radicals call for “jihad until doomsday”, and some people implement such calls into reality, especially young people.