Lessons from Riyadh Compound Bombings

Asharq al-Awsat has been running a series of articles on the 10th anniversary of Riyadh compound bombings. The latest is this piece by Thomas Hegghammer, author of Jihad in Saudi Arabia, who lists ten lessons that we have learned from that deadly terrorist attack. Lesson no. 9:

Counter-terrorism works best when it is targeted and calibrated. The Saudi response to the Riyadh Compound bombings was relatively successful because it was restrained. History is full of governments that responded to terrorism by lashing out against an invisible enemy, thereby creating new grievances that only served to aggravate the problem. Unlike Algeria and Egypt in the 1990s, Saudi Arabia did not conduct mass arrests and appears to have abstained from systematic torture. It also developed a prisoner rehabilitation program that, despite some cases of recidivism, is better than most alternatives. However, not everything is rosy: like the United States, Saudi Arabia has a detainee problem in the form of individuals that the government, for various reasons, does not want to put on trial, but who are considered too dangerous to release.