The Gulf: Lifting The Veil

A secretive and deeply conservative realm, Saudi Arabia suddenly finds itself on the sword edge of change

Under ordinary circumstances, it would have been unthinkable. A group of Saudi commoners telling their prince outright that the country needed to be shaken up? Preposterous. But these are extraordinary times, as the small group of businessmen pointed out during a meeting two weeks ago with Prince Salman, governor of Riyadh and younger brother and confidant of King Fahd. "This is the biggest challenge we have ever faced," said one entrepreneur, mindful of the menacing forces of Saddam Hussein gathered just 300 miles to the north. Said another, summoning his courage: "We have to confront our internal issues."

Two matters, the...

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