Saudi Arabia: Skirmishes Under the Veil

Though life has returned to normal in the kingdom, the religious conservatives and the moderates are stepping up their battle over the country's direction

The camouflage-clad American troops with automatic rifles slung over their shoulders have all but disappeared from the streets of Riyadh. In the cool evening hours, Saudi families once again browse in the stores, examining electronic gadgets and comparing the latest imported luxury cars. In Jidda, gateway to the Muslim shrines of Mecca and Medina, preparations are well under way to accommodate the 2 million pilgrims expected during this month's hajj. Says an adviser to a senior Saudi minister: "We feel a cloud has been lifted from over our land."

Three months after the gulf war ended, Saudi Arabia seems to have...

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