Sadly, my brother passed away yesterday. While he had been on the mend, a sudden crisis proved too much. He will be missed deeply by all his family.
This blogâ€™s purpose is to comment, knowledgeably, about Saudi Arabia, from an American perspective. Itâ€™s not about Saudi-bashing, nor is it an apologia for the country. Rather, itâ€™s an effort to put that country into context.
Iâ€™m a former US foreign service officer who has had two tours in Saudi Arabia, 1981-83, 2001-03. Iâ€™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, itâ€™s not â€œall about oil”). On the main, non-blog, site, I go into greater detail; you might want to take a look.
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 that and neglecting the majority, they do disservice to themselves and to the United States.
By an odd quirk of human nature, people tend not to listen when they’re busy ducking rocks being thrown at them. Yelling is counter-productive when discourse works better. But if we have no idea of another’s values and how he came to those values, the yelling never works.
In this blog and on the main site, I will be looking at Saudi media reports as well as official Saudi press statements; official USG statements and reports on the KSA; Saudi blogs; and American blogs that touch on Saudi Arabia.
Iâ€™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 thereâ€™s no arguing with those whose minds are closed. 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.