Monday, June 14, 2004

The heat is on

Its been two weeks since I arrived in Saudi Arabia and many have asked me about my views on this country. I have always maintained that its been too early to tell and its been partly clouded by terrorist acts.

Unfortunately I havent had the chance to meet many Saudis myself. Partly because of language, partly to where I live and partly due to the culture here. I encountered my first Saudi salesperson/shop owner while purchasing my abaya. Otherwise the sales people have been mostly Indian, Filipinos or other men from the Gulf.

But from what I gather there is a growing restlessness in the youth of this country. With figures of unemployment as high as 30%, and a population of 17 million Saudis and 8.8 million foreigners (Source AP) I can understand why the youth are restless and angry. One source reportedly said that it took a new University graduate 7 months to get his first job. 7 months for the terrorist network to recruit a new follower.

There is also a wide discord between the ruling rich, and the lower class poor. All the attacks on the foreigners is a direct attack on the al-Saud family.

And their strategy is working.

As each expat return to his bed each night, they start wandering if they should tender their resignation the next day. Many have sent their families home, others are taking no pay leave and many are looking for an alternative job.

What I found most scary is that the terrorist really believe that what they are doing is right. I read "ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF INTERVIEW WITH LEADER OF KHOBAR AL-QAEDA CELL". The acts that the men did were very distressing and barbaric. Yet they were able to reason that they got away doing what they did with divine intervention.

My take is that, if the transcript was really genuine, these men are angry, disillusioned and crazy men. They have a hunger to kill, a thirst for blood.

More scary than that is a goverment that does nothing to prevent them from doing so.

Am I moving towards support for the ISA?

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