Saudi Arabia keeps making it difficult for regular Americans to have the same affection for them that the American ruling family has. Sure they have lots of oil and have always been friendly with the Bush clan, and they don't mind much when we tromp all over their desert on our way to the next front in the GWOT.
But then there are those laws they use to suppress individual rights, rights you and I take for granted. Their latest (that we know of) expression of their utter fear of openness is their detention of 32 year old blogger Fouah al-Farhan. In this quote from the NY Times write-up, Farhan says in a letter to friends: "The issue that caused all of this is because I wrote about the
political prisoners here in Saudi Arabia, and they think I'm running an online campaign promoting their issue." In that letter, Farhan alerts his friends that he has been warned of an investigation into his writings.
So, a young Saudi man is in detention today, because he wishes to be able to speak his mind publicly. He isn't a jihadist; he isn't a revolutionary. He is an ordinary citizen who sees things he does not like, and speaks about them.
I wouldn't put it past the American ruling family to try something similar. In these GWOT times, they can do whatever they want in the name of (rigid back, please) "National Security."
The NY Times piece: