Had this interesting message concerning the lack of security attending the recent Riyadh attacks passed on to me from my sister’s current boyfriend. The quoted message was written by his brother, who has been living in Saudi for several years. No comment, just thought it might be of interest.
I thought I would drop a note to say that apart from the horror of the events in Riyadh I am fine. Media reports initially and the Saudi Government grossly underestimated the damage, deaths and injuries. A little while ago the toll was 91 dead, 250
injured. The worst hit compound is not known to me. The other two are well known. One is Al Hamra which houses the
British School where J*** taught for a couple of years. The other is a compound Cordova a short distance away. Each of the compounds was attacked by at least one car/truck packed with explosives. They shot their way past the main gates probably killing most of the Indian or Sri Lankan unarmed “guards”. There was probably Saudi Security forces supposedly protecting the
compounds but they made no impact on the terrorists. Once in each of the compunds the cars were driven short distance and exploded causing massive damage within a radius
of 200 metres. I think it will be days before an accurate account of the dead and injured is known.
It is scandalous that these compounds did not have a protective perimeter that stopped cars and trucks entering before being properly searched. J*** and I saw how the Al Yamama compund and many others were protected after a similar bomb blasts in Riyadh and Al Khobar about 5 years ago.
It is not rocket science. I saw a memo yesterday (provided by an American Staff member of mine) of a confidential meeting between Mr Jordan the US Ambassador in Saudi Arabia and senior staff from the firm Halliburton. The words from the Ambassador were blunt. Al Quaeda will strike. All Americans who are fearful of their security in the kingdom should leave.
I got a similar message from the Australian Ambassador today. The embassy advice is to stay in your residential compound and avoid public places. Of course the bombs then go off in the
residential compounds at 11.15 pm when all villas and accomodation was full.
I feel very angry at the Saudi Government and the US and Australian governments. They are good at issuing carefully worded messages to get them off the hook in a liability sense but doing nothing practically to protect expats living and working in KSA. It seems that the terrorists are the only
ones who plan their actions carefully. An American contractor was shot in his office in the Naval Base in Dhahran several weeks ago (he survived), when a person wearing a naval officer’s uniform walked into his office and shot him twice, and managed to leave the naval base without being apprehended.
Any case I am not meaning to worry you. As one American said to me at lunch today. “Well, I have been here 15 years (ie in Saudi), I’m 60, and what options do I have …go home to Kansas and be killed in a Tornado!!”
[personal material snipped]
Interesting, thanks for sharing. I had a conversation with a friend who lives in Jeddah yesterday (he’s Jordanian of Palestinian extract) and he really couldn’t convey much hope. I think that given his background he’s somewhat conflicted on the whole thing, eg, not condoning violence but possibly sympathising with the cause. It’s a strange position to be in, when you know someone you are talking to might not be so sincere in their condolences.