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Saudi Arabia's anti-terror law not enough

The kingdom can and should do more to prevent Saudis from joining terrorist forces in Syria and elsewhere.
A Free Syrian Army fighter rests while training in the Jabal al-Akrad area in Syria's northwestern Latakia province January 20, 2014. Picture taken January 20, 2014. REUTERS/Khattab Abdulaa (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTX17O88

On Feb. 3, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud issued a royal decree that punishes Saudi citizens with three to 20 years in prison for fighting abroad. Those who belong to or sympathize with radical religious and political movements will also be punished. This came after the new Saudi anti-terror law was put into practice Feb. 2.

The Saudi media immediately reported on the range of groups that are targeted by the decree. In addition to the obvious al-Qaeda suspects, other groups include members and sympathizers of the Saudi branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Sururis, the large Islamist movement that resulted from the fusion of the Brotherhood ideology and the Salafist tradition in Saudi Arabia. In short, the royal decree targets a range of Islamists whose presence in Saudi Arabia is not regulated in political parties, as those remain illegal, but function as trends with well-known leaders and followers. It seems that both the new law and the royal decree are desperate attempts to face serious domestic and regional challenges. However, it is uncertain whether they will deliver peace.

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