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Just a temporary (and futile) gesture

Reader comment on item: Uniting to Exclude Saudi Arabian Airlines

Submitted by Pat (United States), Aug 21, 2007 at 12:42

Who in the West would boycott Saudi Arabia? Are Western oil workers willing to give up their salary just to make a religious statement? If we ban Saudia, do the Saudis in turn ban shipment of their oil to any country that bans their airlines? If banning Western airlines from Saudi Arabia would be such a great humiliation for the monarchy, then why wouldn't they be willing to sacrifice some of their oil revenue in order to salve their pride?

And what if the Saudi response was to reciprocate by banning Western airlines? Would it really matter except at the time of pilgrimage? Egypt and many other Arab nations have their own airlines. Wouldn't Westerners be able to reach Riyadh via Cairo, Damascus, Ankara, etc.? Wouldn't Saudis be able to reach America the same way? Just one additional flight.

Banning Saudia might make us feel good but it won't accomplish very much. Banning all Saudi travel to the US might have more of an impact. It's not a difficult argument to make. People who don't respect freedom of religion cannot be trusted to obey the laws in a country that does.

The real question is: are we willing to put our money behind our principles? Are airlines willing to forfeit the revenue from flights to Riyadh? Are we willing to risk the chaos that would ensue if the Saudis or other OPEC nations responded with an oil embargo? The Saudis have more cards to play than we do.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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