The scheme comes in the wake of the Islamic Awakening [Arab Spring] waves in the Middle East and North Africa and a fear that the waves may reach other dictatorial regimes in the region, particularly Saudi Arabia.
Britain, which is hosting dozens of prominent Arab dissidents, has launched the scheme to replace the al-Saud regime with a government led by Saudi dissident Saad al-Faqih , who is currently living in London.
Saad al-Faqih and his Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia (MIRA) have been removed by a UN Security Council committee from the UN al Qaeda sanctions list.
The decision to de-list Faqih came after the 15-nation council’s al Qaeda sanctions committee failed to reach a consensus to override the al Qaeda-sanctions-list ombudsman, who had recommended removing Faqih from the UN blacklist.
“After thorough consideration by the Committee the entries in the Al Qaeda Sanctions List related to Mr. Saad Rashed Mohammed al-Faqih and (his group) were removed from the Al Qaeda Sanctions List today [Monday],” German UN Ambassador Peter Wittig said in a statement.
“The key question the Committee has to consider is whether there is sufficient information to provide a reasonable and credible basis for concluding that an individual, group, undertaking, or entity is associated with al Qaeda,” said Wittig, who chairs the al Qaeda sanctions committee.
Faqih’s and his group’s removal from the list took effect at midnight on Monday, diplomats said.
Formerly a professor of medicine at a Saudi university, the exiled dissident has long insisted that he and his group are committed to peace. Faqih is an outspoken critic of the Saudi leadership.
Prior to Faqih’s de-listing, there were 252 individuals and 69 entities or groups on the UN al Qaeda sanctions list, including Faqih. All individuals on the list are subject to asset freezes and an international travel ban.
De-listing Faqih in the current circumstances is telling that the West is conspiring for the issue. The circumstances include a legitimacy crisis with which the Saudi dynasty is grappling with, and meanwhile, the members of the al-Saud regime are competing to replace Malek Abdullah, whose death is a matter of time. Dissident movements are also forming across the country in opposition to the ruling dictatorship.
As it was said, Faqih has been residing in London for the past several years and the UK government has enhanced its support for him.
Britain, Faqih’s current host, was one of only four council members that supported the recommendation of the al Qaeda sanctions committee ombudsman, Kimberly Prost of Canada, that Faqih be taken off the blacklist, despite strong objections from Riyadh, diplomats said on condition of anonymity.
Council diplomats said the United States was among the 11 council members that supported the Saudis and opposed taking Faqih off the blacklist. A spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s UN mission did not respond to a request for comment.