As a child living in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, I remember flying into Bahrain from Dhahran several times. It was an eight-minute flight, perhaps one of the shortest international flights in the world. One barely had time to down the guava juice and dates and complete the landing card and you had touched down at Manama Airport. In 1986, the King Fahd Causeway was built and travelling to Bahrain meant just a half-hour car ride. With no visible mutawa (religious police), Bahrain was chilled out and thus the official R&R station for Saudis. It would have been difficult to conceive then that one day the causeway would be used to roll in Saudi tanks to the tiny island.
Later, when I was in college in the US, Professor James Bill, an Iran expert who taught me Middle East politics, claimed that the Gulf monarchies were “whopping cranes” and that their demise was imminent. On holidays back to Saudi Arabia to visit my parents, it was difficult to assess whether Professor Bill was right or wrong, as so little of what was going on in the country was revealed in newspapers. As one example, when Iraq first invaded Kuwait, it was carried as a small news item on the back page of the English daily, Arab News, and it wasn’t till my family was dropping me off at the airport a few days later, that a CNN crew stuck a mike in my face asking, “How do you feel being on the last commercial airliner out of Saudi?”
We had heard that the hotels in Al-Khobar were full of Kuwaitis, but there was no mention in the media of the large numbers of American troops that would be based in Saudi Arabia. Although both Saudi Arabia and the US had previously bankrolled Saddam’s war with Iran, this was different because now Saudi Arabia was teaming up with the Americans against a fellow Arab and former ally. There was resentment amongst the people but, unlike in Pakistan, no outlet to voice that frustration. As an expatriate, I was even less likely to hear condemnation of their government from the few Saudis that I interacted with, but I remember that even my Quran teacher’s mother voiced muted disapproval. It is this festering of resentment, an inability to freely oppose government policy or to channel it as political opposition that led to more sinister expression in the form of al Qaeda.
The case of Saudi Arabia is so different from that of Pakistan’s or even Egypt’s. With tons of money to go around, it has been far easier for the government to buy loyalties and deliver basics such that there are no chants for democracy. But when both Bahrain and Yemen, neighbouring countries in which Saudi Arabia is keenly involved, have erupted in shouts of Al-shaab urid iskat al-nizam (the people want the end of the regime), and when Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have made the world a much smaller place, how long can the Saudi regime maintain its iron hold is questionable. When astute bloggers like Ahmed alOmran of saudijeans.org speak for the reform-minded youth, what Arab News says becomes far less relevant.
Although in the past Saudis may have been placated with stipends and subsidies, with a growing population and a high unemployment rate, it may be difficult to sustain such policies of seeming benevolence and better to adopt more meritocratic methods. Families of missing people abducted by Saudi security forces have legitimate grievances as do those who suffer from a lack of infrastructure, as in the case of the flooding in Jeddah. Add to that the corruption of the upper echelons which cannot even be mentioned by the press and there is much to protest. By interfering in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia will give its own disgruntled Shia population more reason to mistrust their government. In the event that the protests of Qatif and Hofuf catch on, the Saudi monarchy will have no option but to turn to the West for help, just as the Bahraini emir has done.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2011. http://i1.tribune.com.pk/wp-content/...41-640x480.jpg
This is the dream of the West to weaken the base of Muslim ummah.
This is the dream of West and Jews to get hold the control of Muslim Holy land.
There is Allah, the all mighty, who is guarding Harmain.
It happened in the past and will again be repeated in future if anyone try to do that.
West is looking for some bad goats among us and sure there are lot.
We need a Khalafat to rule in the holyland. The current western puppets Kings of Saudia has no right to rule the holy land. The mallokiat (monarchy) is not allowed in Islam. These Kings are protecting the western interest in the whole arab world and specially in the gulf and middle east. They are there biggest ally after Israel. Western forces will try their best to protect Saudi monarchy as they are protecting the monarchy in Bharain. They will never want a khalafah or any democratic system
Change is imminent in Saud Arabia.
The Muslims of Hijaz will be free Inshallah!!!!
They are watching very closely what is happening in their neighborhood; Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt.......
Inshallah Hijaz will be free from Saud Monarchy!!!!!!!!!!
Our Pakistani Indian go for pilgrimage and see the lights of Makkah & Medina and think that Saud family is doing very good for Islam. But in reality Pilgrimage is their Industry same as we have education or immigration industry in the West or Pakistan. They are doing this to accommodate more and more pilgrims , so they can make more SAR. Just one example that to fulfill their desires, they destroyed the birthplace (house) of Prophet Mohammad and build market hotels there. There are lots to write but i don't want any kind of sectarian debate here.
Tell me truthfully, what does Saudi Arabia stand for..... ?????
What is it's major Export? Oil...????? Crude oil ???? You are wrong...!!!
Its a Version of Islam that have divided the major Sunni sect into one of the weakest element currently breathing at a rate that only bring shiver down one's imagination.
If what is been preached by Saudi is correct then may I know what was the major religion of Anatolia that ruled for 500 years before the British installed Saudi Kingdom?
Just 90 years back we had a Islamic Empire called Devlet-i ʿAliyye-yi ʿOsmâniyye......
Where do we stand today? Do any one of you know..... actual Sunni empire and its 500 years of Islamic teaching?
Its time we the true bearers of Sunni fikkah made sure that the Evil that has taken hold the Two holy Cities be kicked into Hell ....
If we feel powerless lets all recite Sura Feel.. and show Allah Subhanahu wa-ta'ala our desire and plea our case for Ninjat from this Evil empire.
Have you (O Muhammad (SAW)) not seen how your Lord dealt with the Owners of the Elephant? (1)
Did He not make their plot go astray? (2)
And He sent against them birds, in flocks, (3)
Striking them with stones of Sijjîl (baked clay). (4)
And He made them like (an empty field of) stalks (of which the corn has been eaten up by cattle).(5)