Saad al-Faqih (also al-Fagih) is a surgeon and Saudi dissident living in the United Kingdom; he heads the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia (MIRA). According to Peter Bergen, he favors a conservative Islamic state, but free of corruption and with a sensible economy.
In a late September 2001 interview with the Public Broadcasting Service's "Frontline", he criticized U.S. analysts for not understanding the reasons al-Qaeda took the actions it did, and discussed its support in the Muslim world. "Referring to the 9-11 attack, "People are very jubilant over what happened...It's actually going further than making it worse. America is doing exactly with bin Laden wants. Bin Laden wants America to respond by a massive, comprehensive, worldwide campaign against Taliban, against him, against Muslims. They don't say that -- against Muslims -- but whatever they say, it would appear in front of people in the area as if it is a campaign against Muslims. And it's going to be an ongoing campaign."
He said four factors drove the situation:
- "hatred of the United States because of its polices in Palestine, its policies in Iraq, its policies in the Arabian Peninsula."
- "leaders in our region, which are regarded by people as oppressors, as traitors, as [stooges] for the United States." He included Saudi Arabia above all, the Gulf countries, Egypt, most of the Arab countries, including also some Muslim countries like Pakistan and other areas.
- "the personality of bin Laden himself, where people are eager to see somebody who is faithful to what he believes in and who has abandoned his luxury to fight for what he believes in."
- America "gave him the certificate that he is the proper antagonist, the proper challenge to the arrogant superpower which is hurting Muslims" This was put in the context of the indictment for the 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in Africa. When Bill Clinton launched a retaliatory attack, "he inflicted hurt on America to the degree that the president of the United States himself acknowledges this fact, and to the degree that America is forced to respond to him."
The United States designated him as a terrorist in 2004, and froze his assets and that of his organization for providing financial support to al-Qaeda. Specifically, he was associated with Khaled al Fawwaz, who has acted as Osama bin Laden's press representative; "according to information available to the U.S. Government, al-Faqih and al Fawwaz shared an office in the late 1990s... Following the 1998 East African embassy bombings, al Fawwaz was arrested in the United Kingdom under an extradition request from the United States. At the U.S. trial of the East African embassy bombers, prosecutors provided evidence that al-Faqih paid for a satellite phone that al Fawwaz passed on to UBL, who allegedly used it to help carry out the attacks. According to information available to the U.S. Government, al-Faqih was also associated with al-Qaeda member and fugitive Abu Musab al-Suri, a.k.a. Mustafa Nasar." The U.S. said MIRA's website (no longer active) with "disclaimers warning users to not attribute postings on MIRA message boards to al-Qaeda, information available to the U.S. and UK Governments shows that the messages are intended to provide ideological and financial support to al-Qaeda affiliated networks and potential recruits. AQ-affiliated author, Lewis Attiyatullah, whose statements have been published on MIRA's website, has been directly associated with Al-Faqih for several years."
- Peter Bergen (November 17, 2001), "'Holy War, Inc.'", New York Times
- "Interview: Saad al-Fagih", PBS Frontline, September 2001
- Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of the Treasury (December 21, 2004), U.S. Treasury Designates Two Individuals with Ties to al Qaida, UBL, JS-2164