Vol: 21 Issue: 24 Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Where does an American citizen go for help when outside the United States? One would assume that the US Embassy would provide safe haven, since that is the purpose of having embassies in the first place. To protect the rights of American citizens abroad.
Under international law, American embassies are American soil, regardless of the country they are located in. Inside a US embassy, American law applies.
Remember the thrillers from the Cold War era, when Americans would be forced to run a gauntlet of evil Soviets in order to make their way inside the embassy gates? The Americans would run the last few yards breathlessly, with the KGB just a step behind.
The embassy door would open, the American would run through, and the Soviets would walk away in disgust, as the embassy gate swung shut to reveal the emblem of the United States. It was thrilling stuff.
But being an American seeking the safety of the US embassy isn’t what it used to be. At least, not if the foreign government you are seeking refuge from is Saudi Arabia.
Sarah Saga, 23, is an American-born citizen who was kidnapped at age five by her Saudi-born biological father. Sarah was held incommunicado and married off to a Saudi friend of her father’s — against her will, as in most Saudi arranged marriages.
Saga wants to come home to America. Under Saudi law, a woman cannot travel without her husband’s permission. So she fled, with her two children, to the US embassy.
Saga is an American citizen who was kidnapped as a child in violation of the US court’s custodial orders. Her two children are also, under US law, American citizens.
So she should be home free, right? Wrong. The State Department is furious with Saga for bringing her problems to them.
Saga says that she at first phoned the Embassy and asked for help making her way there. She was told the embassy didn’t ‘operate a taxi service.’ Once there, she asked for food and was told the embassy wasn’t running a restaurant. Whether or not that is true depends on whether or not you believe Saga.
But there is no question that Saga is being held prisoner by the United States government within the walls of a US Embassy FOR the Saudi government.
The State Department says that it doesn’t want to get involved because this is just a couple ‘having marital problems’. Duh! How many women do you know that would consider being forced into an arranged marriage to be a ‘marital problem?’
Saga is an American citizen who stands accused of no crime. So are her children. Saga’s American mother has not seen her daughter for seventeen years, and has never seen her grandchildren.
Although Sarah was born in Hayward, Calf., the Saudi government does not recognize her American citizenship. And as a Saudi woman, she has no civil rights. She has lived as a slave, totally controlled first by her Saudi father and then by the man that he chose for her to marry. Sarah is now a mother herself and has two little children. How could she get out of Saudi Arabia and what would happen to her children?
When a Saudi man decides to divorce his wife which he can readily do by merely saying to her, “I divorce you” three times no lawyers are required. He can take the children and the mother will probably rarely see them again. The ownership of women and children is for the taking by the Saudi man. No debate.
So Sarah sought safety and protection under the shadow of Old Glory, only to discover that the United States would much prefer to sacrifice her future — and that of her children — and force them back into Saudi slavery in order to keep the SAUDIS happy.
Officials of the Saudi government were allowed into the embassy to coerce the 23-year-old to sign a release that would allow them to take her back to her husband.
Failing in that attempt, the Saudis said that they would let her go, but her children had to remain in Saudi Arabia. Saga refused, and so now the State Department is forcing her into a direct confrontation with the Saudi Foreign Minister and the Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar bin Sultan.
Think of it! Saga and her children must leave the safety of the embassy and go directly into the Saudi seat of power, flanked only by two embassy underlings for diplomatic protection.
If the Saudis elect to simply seize Saga and her children from the custody of the two embassy employees, what’s to stop them? Respect for US sovereignty?
The White House has done nothing to protest, reflecting the Bush administration’s strange love affair with Riyadh. The Saudis represent everything that America is at war with. In fact, I would be unable to explain why we are not at war with the Saudis directly at this moment.
The Saudis are unabashed supporters of terrorism, from al-Qaeda to Hamas. Most of our al-Qaeda enemies are Saudis, those who aren’t are supported by the Saudis. Saudi money financed the WTC attacks, and Saudi telethons raise millions for ‘charities’ like Hamas.
Why are the Saudis our allies where other governments, like that of Iran or Syria, are not? Saudi Arabia is equally repressive, is equally hostile to the West and is even less trustworthy, since Iran and Syria at least admit their hostility. Riyadh offers great, swelling words of friendship, but its deeds mirror those of Damascus or Tehran, but without the consequences.
The Saga story is just one more example of the REAL Saudi Arabia and its strange relationship with the Bush administration.
Please pray for Sara Saga and her children, that they might be delivered from her Islamic ‘paradise’ and that she and her children can taste freedom.
And pray for America. There are dark days ahead.