(2 of 2)
Domestic Fears. The threat of a land grab, however, may be merely Sallal's bargaining maneuver to win diplomatic recognition for his regime from Britain and the U.S.. which have withheld it out of deference to oil-rich Saudi Arabia. There have been signs that London and Washington may eventually reverse their stand, on the theory that if they do so, the Saudis could use the decision as a face-saving way to back down, end support for the Imam, and concentrate on their own serious internal problems. Last week the U.S. flew six F-100 jets over Saudi Arabia in a show of strength that seemed intended as a warning to Nasser not to get too rough with the Saudis.
Meanwhile, the Egyptians mercilessly attack Saudi Arabia's rulers as corrupt and sybaritic. One member of the Saudi royal house hired a French movie crew to photograph his gambols with girl friends. Prince Mansour delights bartenders in
Beirut by paying $25 for a $1 shot of Scotch. Mansour's father, King Saud, 60, communes with his concubines four times a day: before morning prayers, after lunch, before dinner, and at night. Saud, apparently frightened of a Yemen-style coup, has for weeks slept each night in a different bedroom of his palace. He has put top military men under house arrest, is surrounded by 200 of Hussein's Jordanian guards, dressed in Saudi uniforms, because he considers them more reliable than his own Saudis. His air force has been grounded since September, when seven pilots defected to Egypt.
Saud's long-term hopes for the survival of his monarchy depend on his brother, able, austere Crown Prince Feisal, whom Saud installed as his new, trouble-shooting Premier. Feisal set jp a new Cabinet, promised free medical care and education, abolished slavery. He also planned new public morality committees to back up the religious police run by Moslem mullahs. "It is high time." he says, "to introduce some fundamental reforms. But who is more worthy than we, the sons of Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, to handle the affairs of our country?"