Is Saudi safe?

Old Aug 7th 2003, 2:06 am
  #1  
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Default Is Saudi safe?

I'm looking for information from anyone who is currently living in Saudi (especially Riyadh). My brother is going back there after his apartment was blown up in May. I'm more than a bit concerned about him (his daughter ended up in hospital after the explosion).

How safe is it, really?
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Old Aug 7th 2003, 9:57 pm
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Default Re: Is Saudi safe?

Originally posted by dunroving
I'm looking for information from anyone who is currently living in Saudi (especially Riyadh). My brother is going back there after his apartment was blown up in May. I'm more than a bit concerned about him (his daughter ended up in hospital after the explosion).

How safe is it, really?
Your brother's apartment was blown up and his daughter hospitalized ...... haven't you answered your own question!
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Old Aug 8th 2003, 12:37 am
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Default Re: Is Saudi safe?

Originally posted by Pulaski
Your brother's apartment was blown up and his daughter hospitalized ...... haven't you answered your own question!
3,000 people were blown up in NY in September, 2001.
Hundreds of people have been blown up in N. Ireland in the past 40 years.
When I lived in Birmingham, my local pub was blown up by the IRA, killing people I knew.

So, is it a rhetorical question to ask how safe NY is? Belfast? Birmingham?

My brother just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (i.e., his was one of dozens of expat compounds). I was looking for some helpful advice from people who live in Saudi or know the situation there, as to what changes have been made security-wise since then, and whether it is any safer than before.

Hopefully the nature of my question is clearer now. If you are still confused, let me know what other information you need.
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Old Aug 8th 2003, 10:32 pm
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Default Re: Is Saudi safe?

Originally posted by dunroving

My brother just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (i.e., his was one of dozens of expat compounds). I was looking for some helpful advice from people who live in Saudi or know the situation there, as to what changes have been made security-wise since then, and whether it is any safer than before.
Dunroving, I've never been to Riyadh and I don't currently live in Saudi. However my father has lived there for the past 14 years and I have been there several times, the longest trip being a whole year. He lives in Dhahran, which is basically an American community. The Khobar Towers which were bombed in 1996 were a mere 5 minutes' drive, close enough for him to sense the impact of the explosion as if it were some earthquake. If you remember, Khobar was also hit by Iraqi missles a couple of times during the first gulf war. The majority of Americans there were also evacuated this year in case they came under danger from any war with Iraq. Someone who reads this might freak out and ask why the hell he continues to live there. Fact is, despite all this, a lot of foreigners continue to live there and enjoy it and feel that it is worth the extra amount of risk. So, I guess the answer to your question would involve your brother weighing his previous experience in Saudi against how likely it is that he finds himself in a wrong place/wrong time situation. maybe living in an expat community isn't a great idea.
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Old Aug 11th 2003, 9:35 pm
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Default Re: Is Saudi safe?

In a nutshell, Saudi is one of the safest countries I have ever lived in (I have been resident in the USA, Canada, England, Scotland, Saudi Arabia, Sultanate of Oman and Pakistan).

Saudis place more emphasis on security in their country than most Western countries do (or can). Saudi was also one of the closest allies the West had in the region. Westerners living there enjoyed a very high standard of life. More often than not, the plus points of living in Saudi far outweighed the minus points.

An example: While in Riyadh in 1996, I was coming out of the Saudi American Bank with a friend who had recently moved to Saudi from London. A Saudi gentleman a few paces ahead of us was holding stacks of currency between his hands. He was so encumbered with the money he was holding that he could not open the doors unassisted. I helped him with the doors and, having thanked me he happily walked to his car 30 paces down the curb, put all the stacks on the roof of the car and started fidgeting for his keys. After he had found his keys, put his money away and drove off, my friend let out a huge sigh of relief. "That guy wouldn't have lasted 10 seconds in London!� he said.

Here we were, having made our withdrawals, carefully putting our money and wallets away in our pockets and, even then, warily walking to our cars. And here the Saudi was, carefree of any imagined danger.

Having said that, the tragedies of 9/11 in NYC have caused turmoil in Saudi Arabia. The reaction of the US has alienated and offended the Saudis. Despite this, the Saudi government and officials are trying to maintain the privileged life styles so many Westerners (especially Americans and Brits), have enjoyed in their country. However, there is now an increased hostility towards Westerners among some Saudis.

I agree that living in exclusive Western compounds offers more of a target than protection. Most white Europeans and North Americans are now keeping low profiles whilst in Saudi. That is to say, an increased effort to understand and follow local customs so as to not inadvertently offend Saudis.

Saudi is now not what it was pre- 9/11. There is still a risk in being in the wrong place at the wrong time and people who can easily be identified as Westerners from appearance should exercise more caution than they used to.

It is not impossible to be a Westerner and live safely in Saudi. However, given the present (hopefully temporary) hostile climate, more Westerners will be trying to either stay away if they can, or not congregate in large, obvious groups. I would also register and maintain close ties with my embassy whilst in Saudi.

I seem to have gone on longer than I had planned. I hope that there is something here that is of use to you and not just a tiresome rant.
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Old Aug 11th 2003, 10:02 pm
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Default Re: Is Saudi safe?

Originally posted by Oms
I seem to have gone on longer than I had planned. I hope that there is something here that is of use to you and not just a tiresome rant.
- No, not a rant at all. Thank you, I truly appreciated the thoughtfulness of your response, unlike the initial response I received. Seems some people on this board would rather be smart than helpful (not appreciated when the subject is the safety of my family). Thank you (and to Hebapotomus also) for not being one of those people.
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Old Sep 2nd 2003, 2:25 pm
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Default Re: Is Saudi safe?

Originally posted by dunroving
I'm looking for information from anyone who is currently living in Saudi (especially Riyadh). My brother is going back there after his apartment was blown up in May. I'm more than a bit concerned about him (his daughter ended up in hospital after the explosion).

How safe is it, really?
I have lived previously for 6 years in Saudi both in Jeddah & Riyadh. Many of my friends ( Americans) have left and have no intension of returning. many of my UK friends have left and they had been in the country for many years but felt very, very unsafe. I really enjoyed my time in Saudi and made some great friends and enjoyed working in the Arabic culture. So I guess its really his decision whether to go back. You might like to check the web site of the Uk foreign Office that gives advice to travellers.

Best wishes

John
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Old Sep 20th 2003, 9:19 am
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Cool Re: Is Saudi safe?

Originally posted by dunroving
I'm looking for information from anyone who is currently living in Saudi (especially Riyadh). My brother is going back there after his apartment was blown up in May. I'm more than a bit concerned about him (his daughter ended up in hospital after the explosion).

How safe is it, really?
Saudi is one of the most safe countries in the world right now. Muggers are few, psycopaths are few, burglaries are few, rape and murder are so infrequent it is shocking.

Oh yes, there have been a handful of so called terrorist actions but in a country this size, they must be seen in perspective. More bombings have happened in London through the IRA, in Israel, in Palestine, in Lebanon, in Spain through ETA, etc.

More psycopathic tragedies have happened in the States, killing more people than all the incidents in Saudi Arabia put together. Propaganda against the Saudis is gaining momentum but that is all. Their security forces are doing an amazing job.

I can only speak for Jeddah mind you but here's another thought. DId you ever hear about the guy who escaped the war in Lebanon in 1980. He fled to Paris, smugly sure that he had found a way around his destiny. He died crossing the road later than week.
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Old Oct 21st 2003, 9:46 pm
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Default

i'v been there for 2.5 years

yes its safe, dont warry about anything
what hapend before will not hapen again. im sure

Last edited by ahmedmomtaz; Oct 21st 2003 at 9:49 pm.
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