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The house of Saudi rule the country and live in luxury provided for by oil revenues.  Fast cars are a big import, for example.

Most of the workforce are foreigners - who by all accounts live well, though they don't get the automatic state pension.
[Not quite all accounts]

The problem, as I (Vitenka) understand it, is that the Saudi princes invited the Wahabi sect to come and be the country's backbone.  This let them say "We are good religious people" whilst pursuing their emphatically decadent lifestyle.  (I'm painting with very broad strokes here, it's obviously a lot more complicated - but soothing the national conscience was a big part of it)

Anyway, the Wahabi are a somewhat radical sect, and they went and taught a couple of generations of people - who now think of themselves as Saudi nationals but who do not have quite the same rights as the princes.  Religiously trained underclasses are very often a good idea for stability - except when the rulers aren't in charge of the religion.

This is all second and third hand knowledge.

Then again, as far as Requiem is aware, SaudiArabia is, well, friendly (or at worst neutral) to the West. They don't throw too many toys out of the pram in the direction of the West. They sell oil to the US like good little Arabs. They let Western troops / aircraft past without asking for too much in the way of bribery. All in all, they may Have Problems but they aren't A Problem themselves, in the opinion of the West. The House of Saud have the generic problems of a monarchy / o(i)ligarchy, but the country isn't in any risk of degenerating into chaos just at the moment. This may well be rubbish - anyone have better information than me?
Well, the Saudi security forces are a joke, and it seems that their country is being used as something of a haven.  Plus they pump beaucoup du cash into opposition organisations.  Much of which ends up specifically in the hands of AlQuaeda?.  They may have stopped this since light was shone on where their funding was going, but they probably have not.  Whether they were doing it on purpose or not is directly proportional to your cynicism.  --Vitenka
Fair enough. Still less bad than the other countries we've been discussing ^^; --Requiem


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Last edited July 22, 2004 11:50 am (viewing revision 6, which is the newest) (diff)