Saturday, July 25, 2009

Escaping Saudi Arabia's gilded cage

The life of a princess in the House of Saud comes with an unlimited bank account – and no basic freedoms

Ali al-Ahmed
(Ali al-Ahmed is director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs), Friday 24 July 2009

"The British court was right when it granted asylum to a female member of the Al Saud ruling family and protected her identity. The woman fled Saudi Arabia in fear for her life after having a baby with a non-Muslim British man, whose identity is also kept secret.

This young woman was married to a disabled prince in his 70s who has other wives and children older than her........

The west, especially the United States, is partially responsible for the dismal status of women and the harsh conditions of human rights in Saudi Arabia. US officials have turned a blind eye to the ruling family's policies of oppressing human rights, religious freedom and women for the past six decades. In his confirmation hearing last Wednesday, Obama's nominee for US ambassador to Riyadh, General James Smith, praised King Abdullah as a reformer. Describing an absolute monarch, and dictator, as a reformer is an affront........"

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