While all eyes are on the Middle East and the startling developments that are riveting the world as Muslims fight for democracy, there comes a sober reminder that hatred and fanaticism are alive and well everywhere, even in the heart of Texas, USA.
Lubbock, also known as the 'Hub City' due to it being just that, a social and economic hub to the over 300,000 city and area residents, was the scene of a Saudi National's arrest yesterday, on a federal charge of 'attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.'
The 20 year old Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari will make his initial appearance in federal court in Lubbock Friday, according to the Department of Justice.
An avid blogger, writing under the name "fromfaraway90", the man came to the attention of authorities when he attempted to purchase the highly toxic chemical phenol, used in the manufacture of explosives.
Aldawsari described in journals and blogs his desire for violent jihad and martyrdom.
E-mails sent to himself included research on possible 'Nice Targets', including nuclear power plants, hydroelectric dams, and the home of former President, whom he named 'The Tyrant'.
A scholarship student on a student visa enrolled at South Plains College near Lubbock, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine if he is found guilty and convicted of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
FBI agents were tipped off by the freight company that Aldawsari attempted to have the phenol order sent to, and subsequently tracked his e-mails and activities until they gathered enough evidence to arrest him.
Purchases included a gas mask, a hazardous materials suit, glass beakers and flasks, a soldering gun kit, stun guns, wiring, a battery tester and clocks.
Deeply inspired by Bin Laden and the events of 911, it appears that the young Saudi had set his mind to achieve his goal of committing a terrorist act in the United States at a very young age. He would have been ten years old at the time.
One e-mail reportedly states that "one operation in the land of the infidels is equal to 10 operations against occupying forces in the land of the Muslims."
A statement issued by White House spokesman Nick Shapiro stated,
"The President thanks the FBI, Department of Justice, and the rest of our law enforcement, intelligence and Homeland Security professionals who continue to keep us safe and who once again have served with extraordinary skill and with the committment that their enormous responsibilties demand."