Soldiers of God (Chapter 4, page 1 of 4)


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Chapter 4

Washington DC, December, 2077, Sunday…

The Saudi ambassador, dressed in the traditional black business suit of Washington, except for the addition of Arab headwear, shook the hand of Susan Winters and inclined his head slightly. His nation was a beleaguered one, barely holding on as its oil reserves dwindled to nothing. The jackals were ready to pounce.

And here I am begging for a handout from a woman. For many decades the Saudi royal family had performed a dangerous balancing act. On one hand they pretended to be a moderating voice in the Arab world and to be friends with the US, especially those involved in the oil business. This made a very small percentage of Saudis very wealthy while the many that had no participation in the riches that oil brought sunk deeper into poverty. On the other hand, they pretended to be good Sunni Muslims who hated the West, contributing heavily to the religious schools who taught the radical Islamic fundamentalism that had plagued the world for much of the 21st century.

The balancing act led to the downfall of the royal house of Saud. It got them into trouble several times, first when they sponsored the Sunni backlash against the Shi'ites during the second Iraqi war and then again in the last war in the Middle East when they tried to rally support against the invading Shi'ite armies from Teheran. In both cases, the Sunni radicals eventually turned on the royals. Finally the radicals won the day. Now, years later, even the radicals were not so radical. The Saudi dictatorship could not feed its people.

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