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Bye, Bye, Saudi Arabian Pie?
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What do you think about terrorist attacks in the Kingdom?
They'll increase in frequency and magnitude.
82%
 82%  [ 14 ]
The situation will stay about the same as it is now.
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
The worst is probably over.
5%
 5%  [ 1 ]
Ask me later. My airport taxi's waiting.
11%
 11%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 17

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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2004 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cleopatra wrote:

Of course, the main reason the Al Saud are hated by those who "would stop the flow of oil" is precisely because they are too close to the West.


Oh, I didn't realize that. I was under the impression that the Al-Saud have been practicing economic discrimination against the non-Al-Saud for many, many years. I have also somehow come to believe that many Saudis (especially those who have been jailed for exercising what, in my country, are considered basic human rights) deeply resent the fact that there is no freedom of the press, freedom of speech, or freedom of assembly in the kingdom. And somewhere along the line I became attached to the notion that not all Saudi women are as happy as little peas in a pod. There is a wholly Saudi, anti-Saud movement that has been active for many years.

I beg you to stop for a moment and consider the possibility that the U.S. has become a target of Al-Qaeda and friends because 1) the U.S. stands in the way of Osama Bin Laden's plans to remake the Saudi state to his liking, and 2) the U.S. supports Israel.

Now figure: In order for your assertion (above) to be true, there would have to be a *reason* why Osama & Co. would hate "the West". If we set aside America's and Britain's support for the Gulf oil states and Israel (read: interfering in the radicals' plans to undermine local governments and take them over), what could that reason be? I mean, really? RELIGION? WE ARE DECADENT AND SINFUL?

Please note that Saudi Arabia's internal problems became much worse, not better, after the U.S. military pulled out the bulk of its operations from the country.

Cleopatra wrote:

Well, don't you think those companies - the name Halliburton comes to mind -were adequately renumerated for their services? I hardly think it is their job to dictate oil policy to soverign states, even if that is what they may well do.


I'm not concerned with the fate of Halliburton or with any other private company, with or w/out ties to the White House. The question here is responsibility. We're not talking about the world's supply of potato chips or saltine crackers.

I believe that the world's governments collectively have a responsibility to protect the resources on which the world's economies depend; in this case, they also have a responsibility to help develop alternative sources such as solar, wind, geo, and (oh, God save me, here I go) NUCLEAR.

Cleopatra wrote:


And, as to "trusting countries to continue to do the right thing", well, it's their oil under their sand, is it not?


"It's their oil under the sand" -- a proposition that bears examination. You can look at this in a number of different ways. For example, you can believe that the oil belongs to ALL the inhabitants of a given region or state; that would not cast the Al-Saud and the Al-Sabah in a very good light, since both deny the rights and benefits of citizenship to indigenous people while favoring the members of certain well-placed families. Or you can simply assume that the rulers of any given country are indeed the rightful owners of the oil, but then I think you have to look at how they came to be the rulers and at how the lines were drawn in the sand -- and by whom they were drawn-- in those cases where they are drawn at all!

There is also the question of whether the world's current dependence on oil warrants a re-examination of the appropriateness of our conception of mineral rights. Does OPEC, for example, have a moral right to suddenly refuse to sell oil to the Japanese (not saying they would; it's just an hypothetical example) when we know that such a move might be tantamount to a deadly blow to the Japanese economy, and that such a move might actually (hypothetically, again) constitute an act of aggression? That is, should the world's governments allow control of energy supplies to be used as a weapon?

My point is that this is not a simple question of rights of ownership. It is not simple at any level.

BD
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2004 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with you that muchof the resentment towards the Gulf governments by their own people is due to their dictatorial style of government, but the fact that they are so cozy with the US certainly does them no good.

However,where I disagree with you is that "they" hate "us" because of "religion". Personally, I don't think Osama et al much care about what religion the inhabitants of the US or europe practice, or about how "decadent and sinful" thjey may be in their own countries, but they do care very much about what the governments of those countries do in the Middle East - which is, in the case of the US, to back up the Arab dictatorships, which, as you say, deny basic human rights to their own people, and provide blind support for the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories. Of course,needless to say, none of this is the slightest excuse for terrorism in any form.

And when you say that "it's the responsibility of the world's governments to guard oil supplies" how do you mean - by invading oil-rich countries which pose them no threat? Or, do you mean by some sort of sharing of the world's resources - which sounds awfully like utopian socialism to me.

which is fine - but of course, it should apply to all resources, not just oil. If you're going to deny that certain countries (just because their borders hark back to the colonial era, an arrangement which, for the most part, suits the US and other Western powers) have a right to administer their own resources as they see fit, then surely that should apply to all countries and all resources. Should Texan oil also be the property of the world' governments?
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2004 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I forgot to add that, contrary to what you seem to belive, Saudi women are no more - nor less - happy than women anywhere.

At least that is the conclusion I came to after working with them in close quarters for years. Which is not to say that some of them would not like some of the more ridiculous regulations regarding women to change, but the majroity of Saudi women i knew were fairly content with their lives, which is as much as most people - male or female - can ask in any country.
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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2004 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cleopatra wrote:
I agree with you that muchof the resentment towards the Gulf governments by their own people is due to their dictatorial style of government,


Glad to hear it. That's an important step.


Cleopatra wrote:

However,where I disagree with you is that "they" hate "us" because of "religion".


I don't think they hate us because of religion. Read my post again. My point is that religion has practically *nothing* to do with it. Religion only enters into the picture when the terrorists/rebels/revolutionaries use it to rally support for their cause. The real reasons are political and economic. Again, glad to hear that you agree. Sorry that my rhetoric was confusing for you.

Cleopatra wrote:
...they do care very much about what the governments of those countries do in the Middle East - which is, in the case of the US, to back up the Arab dictatorships, which, as you say, deny basic human rights to their own people...


Yes. As I say. Glad to see that we're putting the horse before the cart.

Cleopatra wrote:
And when you say that "it's the responsibility of the world's governments to guard oil supplies" how do you mean ...


I mean exactly what I said. You are free to interpret it through the filter of your own emotions or political predispositions if you choose to cast me as a war-mongering ogre, or you can remain open to the possibility that my concern is as I stated. (P.S. You might consider using quotation marks only when you are quoting directly and correctly, not when you are paraphrasing -- unless your intent is to deliberately mislead.)

Cleopatra wrote:
...by invading oil-rich countries which pose them no threat?


Well, now, obviously I'm not going to agree with *that*, am I? Who would? If you'd care to reframe that question in a less provocative and presumptive manner, I may take a run at it.

Cleopatra wrote:
...it should apply to all resources, not just oil.


All resources? Why? Don't you suppose that some resources might be more valuable than others? Isn't it plausible that at this moment in history oil is as necessary as oxygen and water for the sustenance of billions of human lives, while other resources are not nearly so? (Shades of gray, shades of gray; fine judgement, not extreme positions.)

Cleopatra wrote:
If you're going to deny that certain countries (just because their borders hark back to the colonial era, an arrangement which, for the most part, suits the US and other Western powers) have a right to administer their own resources as they see fit


Pardon my saying so, but if you were a bit slower to put words into my mouth, you might find that we have less to argue about than you think.

Cleopatra wrote:
Should Texan oil also be the property of the world' governments?


Property... Not sure that I ever said that ANY oil should be the property of ANY government. What I said was, and I quote, "I believe that the world's governments collectively have a responsibility to protect the resources on which the world's economies depend..."

And about the women: You ought to talk to Rania al-what's-her-name, the TV person who got smacked around by her husband. Or talk to the ones who are otherwise victimized by their male relatives, or the ones who would love to drive. Don't talk just to the happy ones. And please, don't waste your time pointing out that women have troubles everywhere. The burdens of women in Saudi are of a different order than the burdens of women in, for example, the U.S.; they are legally sanctioned and institutionalized.

BD
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15613
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2004 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cleo and Bindair,

My two friends who love a good debate. I think we should get you two working at the same college somewhere. It would get rid of many of the problems of communication that this medium presents. Can I just make a comment?

The motivations of the current American administration is such a messy mix of oil, arrogance, and ignorance that I wonder how many of them even understand it.

And the whole Middle Eastern women question is also one that seems almost impossible to discuss rationally. Since Cleo and I have discussed this topic extensively off board, based on long contact with ME women that you males on this board don't have the slightest chance of duplicating, let me clarify at least one point. We could spend all day pointing out good and bad stories about the status of women in all or any culture. (Shades of gray, Mr Dundat - practice what you preach Smile ) What Cleo was talking about was these women's perception. As Western feminists from the outside looking in, we tend to only see the abusive situations, and these are so often the only examples that get out. The reality is that their expectations are quite different from ours. And I agree with Cleo, I would expect that the number of women who are 'content' with their lives is probably about the same in the Middle East as in the West. (though I would expect that Saudi would be the opposite end of some such scale) It is just that their problems and gripes - and goals - are so different from ours.

It is no wonder that there is such a wide gulf of misunderstanding between our cultures.

VS
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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2004 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

veiledsentiments wrote:
What Cleo was talking about was these women's perception.


Yo,

Yes, I agree that people will usually accommodate themselves to whatever their circumstances and realistic options offer. Furthermore, people can get used to just about anything if it's presented incrementally.

BD
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2004 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Don't just talk to the happy ones"?

Well, I didn't get to choose my students or the other women I met, on the basis of how happy or not they were! However,I'd guess that they represent a fairly average cross-section of young Saudi women,and, yes, most of them seemed as happy as a group of university student anywhere else would. to be honest, it seems to me as though you are the one choosing only to look at one side.

As for driving, as I've said before on this page, it's a bit of a red herring. almost all the Saudi women I spoke to said they wouldn't drive even if the law and their families allowed it. It's always been an issue - like the veil - which interests outsiders more than Saudi women themselves.
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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2004 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh - yeah, okay, Saudi women are happy. Happy, happy, happy. And if they're happy, so am I.

Happy BD
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