MAKAH, JEDDAH: Analysts and observers welcomed the arrest on Tuesday in Qatif, in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, of Mohammed Hussein Al-Ammar, labeled by the Kingdom’s security forces as one of their most-wanted terrorism suspects.
His capture was said to represent a severe blow to militant group Hezbollah Al-Hijaz, and was described as complementing the US strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force on Jan. 3.
Saudi writer Hassan Al-Mustafa said that Al-Ammar had behavioral problems and a bad reputation, and was notorious for his behavior even before the so-called Arab Spring of 2011.
“You would not call him someone religious or staunchly aligned with a certain ideology,” he said. It was only after protests began in Qatif, he added, that Al-Ammar latched onto them to create an image for himself as a hero and a defender of the people of the area.
“Many people like him take advantage of such situations to erase their bad history and assume political or authoritative roles,” said Al-Mustafa. “He is someone who has nothing to do with politics in the professional sense.”
Al-Ammar has a criminal background, he continued, and has a history of caring little for the fate of anyone else, even his own allies.
He added that many of these accomplices were gullible youngsters who were manipulated by Al-Ammar to serve his own selfish interests.
Analyst Dr. Ali Al-Tawati said that as an agent of Iran, a foreign state that uses violent tactics, Al-Ammar used violence in an attempt to impose his views on Shiites on others in Saudi Arabia. He said that this included the alleged murder of a Shiite religious scholar in Qatif.
Gen. Nasser Al-Shaibani, chairman of the Communications and Information Technology committee at the Saudi Shoura Council, said that the security agencies have had great success in their operations targeting terrorists, and that they have the investigative resources to pursue such criminals wherever they go.
Al-Shaibani said that Al-Ammar was responsible for killing leading Shiite figures in the Kingdom, had channeled money to for bombings and other terrorist attacks, and was known for targeting Saudi security forces.
He added: “Foreign states tell the terrorists to carry out attacks to destabilize security. These states have used immoral people to carry out attacks on security and public justice personnel, and on their own countrymen.”
Political analyst Solaiman Al-Uqaili said that the arrest of Al-Ammar, who is a leading figure in Hezbollah Al-Hijaz and is believed to take his orders from Soleimani, is the second significant blow in a matter of days to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and its external affiliates, following the US attack that killed the leader of the Quds Force.
He said that the death or capture of leaders of Iranian efforts in the region is a sign of the imminent failure of the Tehran’s project in the Middle East, and that the Saudi achievements are adding to the international efforts to battle terrorism.