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I am well old enough to remember all of the events you describe. I was even in Saudi Arabia '84 and '85 and can attest to the wariness of educated Saudi's and others of Arab descent I met about Palestinians. They might support their struggle against Israel but they considered them to be trouble on two feet. And Palestinians already were the most highly educated population of Arabs in the world.

I was also aware through friends of friends working for various princelings of the ambivalent attitude about Wahabism held by members of the Royal Family. The Arab News, an English language paper, regularly described certain ministers as 'going home for prayers' - which most took to mean anything else but praying. Meanwhile foreigners learned to lie low during noon and evening prayer times. Otherwise you might encounter the Mu'tawain in an ugly way. And these religious 'police' were old men in dirty thobes who drove around in beat up '60s Blazers when not patrolling the souk and hitting foreigners on the head with metal tipped canes if they stood or looked to closely or too long at a young Saudi female in a chador. The regime wouldn't even bother to make them appear presentable.

Well to do Saudis  were  upset about all of the strife in Lebanon, as they had considered Beirut to be their 'beach', where they could go and be 'western'. The distrust of Shias was palpable and they were concerned about native Shia on the 'Arabian Gulf' and the role of Shia in the sectarian conflicts in Lebanon. They were glad that Iran had become pariah to the US.

I have always rejected as mostly BS the common framing of 'Islamic Terrorists' for and after '911'. That made little sense from what I knew. Complements on putting all of this together into such a fine, lucid diary. I find nothing with which to quibble.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere." (But it helps!)

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 5th, 2016 at 02:28:07 PM EST
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