Rueven Paz has been studying Islamist extremism for decades, first as a 20-plus-year veteran of the Israeli General Security Service, and for the past three years as the founder and director of the Project for the Research of Islamist Movements, www.e-prism.com. Some view Mr. Paz as a man of the left, but his report on the identity of foreign jihadists streaming into Iraq needs wide distribution.
The first phase of his study reviewed the biographies of 154 Arabs killed by allied troops from the end of the battle for Fallujah through March 2005. He has now identified and added to his database 250 more terrorists, and the findings are disturbing.
First, approximately 60 percent of the foreign Arabs killed in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia, where preaching of the virulent strains of Islam continues without much if any interference from the royal family. This "strongly suggests the Saudis' direct and active involvement both in the insurgency battles as well as in terrorist operations. . . . Many of these Saudis come from respected and well-known tribes or families."
Also alarming is the conclusion that "some of the [terrorists], not only Saudis, came from wealthy or upper middle class families," and that "support for violent Jihad in Iraq against the Americans was encouraged by the Saudi Islamic establishment. In October 2004, 26 of the senior Saudi Ulama published a declaration supporting the Jihad in Iraq, eliciting no reaction by the Saudi government."
Though many will debate Mr. Paz's conclusions, the facts in his report require a response from the Saudi government, and soon. The government of Saudi Arabia is an ally of the United States and is certainly committed to ending the al-Qaeda threat against itself. But much more can and must be done to end the export of jihad from the desert kingdom.