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Are the Saudis sunk?

The Wahhabi-Saud pact has held the desert kingdom together since the 1920s; now it is pulling apart

By John R Bradley   September 2003

One humid evening last Ramadan in the plush garden of a villa belonging to one of Jeddah’s oldest merchant families, a select gathering of Saudi men and women sipped orange juice and fanned themselves as they listened to a lecture attacking Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia’s austere brand of Islam. The lecturer was Sami Angawi, a self-proclaimed Sufi leader of the vast swathe of Saudi Arabia known as the Hijaz, which runs along the Red sea and is home to Islam’s two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina.

For some time after the al-Saud imposed their rule on the area in 1925 regular…

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