SAUDI ARABIA: Alchemy in the Desert

Less than 50 years ago, Saudi Arabia was a desert kingdom whose prime source of income was a head tax imposed on Moslem pilgrims traveling to Mecca. Today the derricks and pipelines of a huge U.S. corporation tap rich pools of oil beneath the desert sands and turn them into streams of gold that pour into the royal coffers of Saudi Arabia at a rate of $200 million yearly. Last week TIME's Middle East Correspondent Keith Wheeler cabled an account of the problems and promises engendered by this desert alchemy.

The desert sands...

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