What a fitting replacement!
From a review of Steve Coll’s book, “The Bin Ladens’: An Arabian Family in the American Century,” by Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer:
What’s most striking about Coll’s book is its undidactic but unflinching account of just how rancidly dysfunctional the Saudi royals’ governance has been and of how the Bin Ladens — canny, but in so many essential ways incompetent — have benefited from their patrons’ venality through a breathtakingly supine sycophancy and simply bribery. Corrupt, hypocritical, frightened and inept at everything but self-preservation, the Sauds have essentially looted their country’s foreign-developed oil riches, using the Bin Ladens to dole out development only when it was absolutely necessary to placate a restive populace.
The results have been particularly appalling in the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina, where Saudi-financed construction projects undertaken by the Bin Ladens essentially have eradicated the historic pilgrimage sites. Not too many years ago, the remains of the Prophet Mohammed’s house in Mecca were bulldozed to construct a public toilet. These projects not only allow the Saudis to profit more from the hajj, which religious Muslims are obliged to make at least once, but also have imposed a Wahabi straitjacket on the pilgrimage. Formerly, Shia and sufic pilgrims observed the hajj with all sorts of individual rituals and visits to shrines and tombs they referred. Now, thanks to the Bin Ladens’ demolition and construction projects only a Wahabi version of the pilgrimage is possible.
Rutten goes on to discuss Coll’s historical facts surrounding the radicalization of Osama Bin Laden:
Coll reports that it occurred while he was attending an elite high school in Jeddah and came under the profound influence of an Egyptian instructor, who was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Osama apparently joined the brotherhood as a teenager. Given the way he ultimately turned on the Sauds, it’s ironic that the teacher was one of a large number of Egyptian and Syrian exiles to whom the Saudi royal family had given shelter, believing that their religious ideology might be used as a counterweight to the secularism of Nasser and the Baathists.
I cannot stand the Saudis any more than the other Islamic excrement in the Middle East, but I love the way they conveniently exploit Bin Laden’s wealth to protect their swarthy asses from a potential coup.