Saudi Time Bomb?
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Dear FRONTLINE,

I saw the Saudi show and was scared by what is happening in Africa. If the West doesn't help the poor there the people will eat with the help of Wahhabism. What can I do to help them? I can't sponsor a scholarship for an African but is there any where/way else to help? Is Unicef a good idea? Are they where you sponsor a child? Open to any ideas. Thanks.

beth mulcahy
portland, or


Dear FRONTLINE,

I enjoyed your program, but let us not forget that the Saudi brand of Islam is also being exported to the United States and Canada. Perhaps we should take a long, hard look at what is being taught in our own Islamic schools and centres. We should be frightened for ourselves and especially, our children.

winnipeg, manitoba,canada


Dear FRONTLINE,

This was a fascinating look at the Saudi angle to today's crisis. I have followed Saudi Arabian affairs since my short tour of USAF duty at Dhahran Air Base just after the Desert Storm hostilities. While there I observed the tension and balance of power between the royal family and the religious leaders, each side with its own agendas that sometimes coincided and sometimes conflicted.

What grabbed my attention, though, were the sermons from the mosques over the air base loudspeakers. When I heard the word "America" in every sentence or two and noticed the angry tone of the voice, I knew that an agenda was brewing that would not be good for our national interests and perhaps also for Saudi Arabia's national interests. Little did I know how that agenda would affect us ten years later.

Saudi Arabia is a complex society with many different kinds of people. I met many good and decent Saudis, but whether these individuals will prevail or their positive attitudes toward us survive the current mood remains to be seen. If we are to truly understand a little of what they are, we need more in-depth and thoughtful analyses such as this episode. And, this episode only barely scratched the surface.

Tom Mathewson
layton, utah


Dear FRONTLINE,

From the program on Saudi Arabia it seemed apparent to me that we will continue to seek to destroy terrorism coming out of the Islamic world and which has been supported financially by the Saudi Arab governing elite in order to deflect it from attacking the governing class of Saudi Arabia. It seems as though the Saudi secular elite is supporting clerics to mold the mind of the masses and turn their perception of whom their enemy is. Our governing elite is going to support the Saudi Arab governing elite even if it means the generation of more terrorism against the United States. The alternative would be to support the oppressed classes in the Middle East against the Saudi elite as well as other elites in the Middle East who are oppressing their people. This Administration is not prepared to do this, and a great challenge for pursuing rational action is helping the american people to understand this.

bradenton, florida


Dear FRONTLINE,

If I were on my death bed, I would find the strength to get up to watch Frontline on PBS.

Your presentation of the Arabian Time Bomb was very well done; and, you appeared to present all sides of this strategic issue. For those of us who engage in strategic studies and wish to maintain an objective viewpoint, you have provided the mortar with which we can build upon.

Please notify me if you intend to repeat this particular showing on PBS again.

Many thanks. Keep up the good work

arlington, texas


Dear FRONTLINE,

Say what we want to be politically correct and not to damage our Arab coalition, but the truth is we are fighting Islam period. Study Ibn Warraq's book, Why I am Not a Muslim. Muhammed was a murderer; he used the sword to advance his religion. His followers, the caliphs, followed in his footsteps. There were assassinations of caliphs, and the Sunnis and Shiites were at war from day one. Their religion advanced not through the power of love, ala Christianity in the book of Acts and beyond, but through the power of the sword. If Islam is such a peaceful religion, why are Muslim countries in the Fertile Crescent persecute Christians and forbid by law any other religions? Why are Christians killed with not a peep of protest from the Western World? Why is there such religious intolerance and bigotry? Muslims in this country who have fled from those totalitarian regimes know what I am talking about. They desire the freedom of religion that our country welcomes and celebrates.

crescent, ok


Dear FRONTLINE,

Ambassador Holbrooke closed the program with the suggestion that even though the Saudi family is sitting on a very precarious fence, think of the alternative if they were replaced by a fundamentalist regime. I don't think the program should have ended on this point, it should have been explored more. Considering that the royal family is the major supporter of the fundamentalist Islamics that are exporting their brand of anti-American hate, I can't imagine it being any worse. Perhaps Ambassador Holbrooke's worse case scenario would be a Saudi government similar to the Taliban. If you consider where the Taliban are today, hiding in caves, I don't think that would be worse. I think our unholy alliance with the Saudi monarchy is the worse case scenario and that most of our leaders are too preoccupied with maintaining our oil supplies to see how bad our current relationship is with the Saudis.

Clif Schneider
cape vincent, ny


Dear FRONTLINE,

The underlying issue in our relationship with Saudi Arabia concerns oil. We are in Saudi Arabia militarily because of that oil and that presence is what the religious establishment there objects to. Why not have leadership that can articulate to the American people how we would benefit from no longer being dependent on foreign oil (including obviating the need for us to remain there militarily) and then explain to them what would be needed to accomplish this objective? Is that too much to ask? This is an achievable objective and not political hyperbole. Today, because of our dependence on foreign oil, we put our brave young soldiers in harm's way.

The solutions are not that complicated. Doubling the current CAF (corporate average fuel efficiency) from the auto companies can be easily (thats right easily) done by MANDATING that all future cars have either the hybrid engines that CURRENTLY get over 50 mpg or the newer diesel engine technology now prevalent in Europe that average over 45 mpg for the larger vehicles. We could speed up the timetable of revamping the manufacturing process by offering the auto companies a tax incentive and, or grants to offset the extra cost they would incur. This would double our CAF and almost eliminate our dependence on foreign oil if it were combined with other initiatives to improve production (including opening ANWR).

In the area of electricity we should MANDATE the use of the new florescent light bulbs and high efficiency appliances that require only one third the power use. Once again, extra costs incurred by the American people to switch to these new lights could be offset by tax credits and, or deductions during the transition period. In addition, the new South African pebble technology nuclear reactors should be encouraged-especially if its determined that they can be made to be terrorist-proof in a cost-effective manner with enough encasement.

The sacrifice the American people would have to make is adding an extra second or two when going from zero to 60 and lighting candles or fireplaces (if they have them) if they want romantic mood lighting instead of the fluorescent stuff. I think we ought to be able to handle that-it is not nearly as bad as putting our young soldiers in harms way in Afghanistan under the current system. Then the next time Saudi citizens cheer when 5000 innocent American civilians are murdered by one of their own we can tell them to try drinking their oil instead of shipping it to us.

Jack Ferman
yonkers, ny


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