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A team of 66 FBI personnel is working closely with Saudi authorities as they sift through the debris at the wrecked compounds. Sources say the Saudis, who did not cooperate effectively with U.S. law enforcement after earlier attacks inside Saudi Arabia involving Americans, are being helpful this time. Saudi officials have been conducting an exercise in damage control on American TV, telling the world they will crack down on terrorism and its financing as never before. The Saudis publically announced last week that the al-Haramein Foundation had been ordered to close eight of its foreign offices and that its charitable activities will be confined to the kingdom. The Saudis also plan to bring three other major charities to heel--al-Rabita, the World Muslim Youth League and the International Islamic Relief Organization. Some U.S. officials insist that the Saudis will have to do still more to break a pattern of appeasing Islamic militants. Yet acting forcefully would represent a risk for the House of Saud, which has long drawn legitimacy from deeply religious Muslims.
Perhaps the Saudi government will break with past habits. But even if it does, those terrorists who believe with a religious conviction that the lives of Americans and their friends are fair game will continue their unending war. These days, when Scott Schlageter leaves al-Jadawel for a spin in his car, he wears a white shirt and a red-checked Arab headdress. That way, he hopes, nobody will mistake him for an infidel. --Reported by Timothy J. Burger, Massimo Calabresi, Elaine Shannon, Mark Thompson and Adam Zagorin/Washington, Bruce Crumley/Casablanca, Simon Elegant/Kuala Lumpur, Scott Macleod/Riyadh and Tim McGirk/Tehran