End the Weakness of US Policy Towards Saudi Arabia

(Testimony Before the US House of Representatives) Daniel Pipes - In 1995, Lt. Col. Martha McSally, the highest-ranking female fighter pilot in the Air Force, was stationed in Saudi Arabia. When she left the base, she had to ride in the back seat of the vehicle and wear a black, head-to-foot Muslim outfit she described as "very demeaning and humiliating." As Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was about to travel across Texas to visit President Bush in late April 2002, his entourage demanded that only male air-traffic controllers handle the royal plane. During the Gulf War, American troops were not permitted to hold formal Christmas services at their bases located on Saudi soil. The U.S. government refuses to station American citizens who are Jewish in Saudi Arabia, although select senior U.S. diplomats who are Jewish are allowed to visit the country briefly on official business. In contrast, the State Department and other agencies bend over backwards when Saudi nationals living in the United States get in trouble with the law (common charges include various forms of rowdiness, sexual harassment, and keeping slaves). Often, the accused Saudis are granted diplomatic immunity to avoid prosecution, then whisked out of the country. A planeload of Saudis was permitted to leave the United States right after September 11, 2001, before law enforcement officials could question any of them.

2002-06-13 00:00:00

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