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Discussion Questions Following Viewing

Students that are not familiar with the Islamic faith should read the definition of key terms and a brief overview of the Islamic religion. This can be found at: FRONTLINE Teacher Center: "Muslims" Teacher's Guide [URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/teach/muslims/glossary.html]

The last decades have marked a clash of cultures and understandings between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Try to understand what caused this clash as you watch the documentary and answer these questions.

  1. How and why did Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud change the organization of the Arabian Peninsula?

  2. What methods did Abd al-Aziz use to gain power in Saudi Arabia? What impact does the fatwa have on the consolidation of power?

  3. How did the creation of Aramco change the lives of the people of Saudi Arabia?

  4. Explain how President Roosevelt and President Truman influenced the American relationship with the Saudi leaders.

  5. Why did people believe that King Saud was not as good a leader as his father?

  6. How and why did problems develop between Gamal Abdel Nasser and King Saud?

  7. What methods did the new King Faisal use to modernize Saudi Arabia? How did this eventually lead to his death?

  8. Compare the causes and results of the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars.

  9. How did these wars cause problems for the United States?

  10. What impact did the 1978 economic boom have on Saudi Arabia? How and why did this lead to violence?

  11. What motivated Saudi Arabia and the United States to assist Afghanistan? How did this war influence Osama bin Laden?

  12. What long lasting problems did Desert Storm cause Saudi Arabia and the United States?

  13. How does the book Defending Virtue illustrate the position of women in Saudi Arabia?

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