World: Plans for a Pilgrimage

It was probably the most bizarre story to emerge from the Persian Gulf war. Well-informed Iranians insisted that it was totally false. Equally well-informed Saudis said it was all too true. A Western intelligence source was inclined to believe the Saudis.

One casualty of the Iran-Iraq war, the story goes, was a plan by Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini to make the hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, where thousands of his supporters apparently planned a clash with Saudi Arabian authorities. A Saudi source said that 5,000 young Iranians had applied for visas to accompany the Ayatullah on...

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