This blog’s purpose is to comment, knowledgeably, about Saudi Arabia, from an American perspective. It’s not about Saudi-bashing, nor is it an apologia for the country. Rather, it’s an effort to put that country into context.
I’m a former US foreign service officer who has had two tours in Saudi Arabia, 1981-83, 2001-03. I’ve had the chance to see the country with my own eyes and to meet with a wide variety of Saudis. I read and speak Arabic and have spent the bulk of my career in the Middle East, with assignments in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Bahrain in addition to those in the KSA. I’ve also had assignments in London and New Delhi, as well as Washington.
There is no Saudi money involved in this blog, nor in my personal income. I write this because I believe that US-Saudi relations are important (and no, it’s not all about oil).
I believe Saudi Arabia, a country of some 16-18 million Saudis, to be a very complicated country. As with any country, there are good things and there are bad. Right now, the bad is what most Americans see. By focusing on the negative behaviors of a few Saudis and neglecting that of the majority, they do disservice to themselves and to the United States. I choose to write about the challenges that Saudi Arabia is facing in moving from a culture- and tradition-laden society to one compatible with the modern world around it. I will praise the progress and call out the retrogressions as I see them.
Yelling is a counter-productive activity when discourse works better. If we have no idea of another’s values and how he came to those values, the yelling never works.
In this blog, I look at Saudi media reports as well as official Saudi press statements; official USG statements and reports on the KSA; Saudi blogs; and American and international media and blogs that touch on Saudi Arabia.
I’ve no interest in arguing with people who assume that Saudi Arabia is unmitigated evil. I know that it is not. I also know that there’s no arguing with those whose minds are closed. Nor am I interested in arguing against those who believe that Saudi Arabia and Saudis are the sum total of all good things in the universe. I am open for discussion and will keep comments open. I do reserve the right to edit and delete comments that have nothing to offer but insult or abuse.
If you believe any posting or comment is factually incorrect, please contact me. Please provide details of who you are, how I can contact you, what your concern is, and what your standing in reference to the issue is. If something has been written that is factually incorrect, it will be addressed. Anonymous complaints will be ignored.