Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia: The Shape of a Client Feudalism

By Dadkhah, Kamran M. | The Middle East Journal, Summer 2000 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia: The Shape of a Client Feudalism


Dadkhah, Kamran M., The Middle East Journal


Saudi Arabia: The Shape of a Client Feudalism, by Geoff Simons. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998. xvi + 415 pages. $35.

Reviewed by Kamran M. Dadkhah

The main thesis of this book is that Saudi Arabia is a despotic country that not only denies its people freedom and human rights but also resorts to torture, as well as ill treatment of women and support for terrorism. Yet, the West, far from condemning this appalling record, has a cozy relationship with the Saudi government. The reason is that Saudi Arabia has oil that it exports to the West, and petrodollars that it spends on weapons produced in the West (p. x).

After the reader is presented with this initial outline of Simons' argument, s/he might expect to learn why Saudi Arabia, and the relationship between the latter and the West, has developed in this manner and what the practical alternatives might be. Assuming that the status quo is morally objectionable, what are some policy choices open to the West? Is a more democratic government in Saudi Arabia possible? How should a transformation such as this be realized, gradually or through revolution? What would be the pros and cons of each game plan?

Mr. Simons, however, has a different idea. His book, in essence, is a series of diatribes against Saudi Arabia, Islam, and anything and anyone unfortunate enough to associate with them. The vitriolic attacks continue for 300 pages, and the reader who survives the ordeal comes out of it feeling sorry for Saudi Arabia.

The author has scoured texts, newspapers, and other sources; whatever he has found to defame the double demons of Saudi Arabia and Islam, he has included in this book. He is an equal opportunity exploiter of sources, who apparently does not care who has said what and why. Indeed, in some cases, Simons does not even bother to cite his source. In certain instances, statements cited are so incredulous that he feels obliged to offer some defense. For instance, he claims that "wealthy Saudis can arrange for children to be plucked off the streets in order to steal their bodily organs" (p. 4). According to the author, the source for this assertion is the book Princess by Jean Sasson (as usual, no page number is given), and he adds that "I have no other documentation to support this charge but Sasson is reliable in other details" (p. 363). Saudis' misdeeds don't end here. Simons even frowns upon the Saudi government's building of mosques and support for Islamic schools around the world (pp.14-15).

The author is particularly critical of Islam, and his criticism, at times, takes the tone of a raving fanatic. For example, he cites the following incident in a "grim catalogue of Hajj disasters." On August 1980, a "Pakistani airliner flying out of Jeddah catches fire when a pilgrim on board lights a stove to brew tea; crash landing kills 301" (p.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia: The Shape of a Client Feudalism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?