Please forgive me for saying this once again, but the US would be so much better off with Daniel Pipes as Secretary of State, he is Brilliant–Logical and the Arabs know that he understands them better than they understand themselves. Take for example his little expose’ last week about the bigoted goings on at Saudi Airways. He showed how the Saudi Government-run Airline warns people not to take non-Muslim religious items into the country (see Airports should Boycott Racist Saudi Airline)
Well it seems that Saudi Airlines has read Mr. Pipes piece and is trying to clean up its act. They took the offensive section off of their web site. Of course you still can’t take those items into the “moderate” kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Comments: (1) I am grateful to primerprez at “PRIMER-Connecticut” (where PRIMER stands for “Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting”) for pointing out this change in an Aug. 29 posting, “Our Saudi ‘Friends’ Respond to Criticism.” (2) As primerprez puts it, the Saudi leaders “appear to have responded amazingly quickly to criticism from Daniel Pipes.” (3) Dropping the offending paragraph would be very welcome if it indicated a shift in policy by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one that now permits “Bibles, crucifixes, statues, carvings, items with religious symbols such as the Star of David.” It is less welcome if it merely cleans up the Saudia act for the outside world, as primerprez speculates is the case: “I doubt the Saudis have actually changed any of their obnoxious policies; they’re just not publicizing them on the Saudi Arabian Airlines web site.” (4) I agree with this analysis – that nothing substantial has changed – for three reasons:
- Allowing non-Islamic artifacts into the kingdom is too momentous an issue to be conceded without a fight.
- Nor would such a change happen so suddenly, within a week.
- The remaining “Customs Regulations” paragraph retains a more general, and therefore less offensive statement of this same restriction (“A number of items are not allowed to be brought into the Kingdom due to religious reasons”), indicating that the old policy clearly remains unchanged and in place.
(5) The decision to drop the second paragraph on customs restrictions points to the Saudi sense of vulnerability, which is not a total surprise. It’s a demographically small state surrounded by predators (Iran in particular), dependent on the income of one fickle commodity. It hardly needs added complications in its relations with the U.S. and other Western governments. (6) My call of a week ago to “unite to exclude Saudi Arabian Airlines” remains in place. As I put it then: “Western governments should demand that unless the Saudi government at least permits ‘that [religious] stuff’ in, Saudia faces exclusion from the 18 airports it presently services in Europe, North America, and Japan.” Saudia’s access to those airports remains a weak spot that begs to be used as a mechanism to help bring a first step toward religious tolerance in Saudi Arabia.
Now If I can get Pipes to run the State Department, I need Pamela of Atlas Shrugs to be my Secretary of Defense, Chaim of Freedoms Cost needs to run Homeland Security, Charles Johnson of LGF needs to run the CIA and Mr. Bagel would make a perfect Press Secretary, Soccer Dad needs to run the Senate and Yael of Boker Tov Bolder take over for Nancy Pelosi as the new most powerful woman in the world…ah if I only had the power the world would be so much better off.