Powell, inconsistent?

From the Whiskey Bar:

Watch What We Say, Not What We Do
Secretary of State Colin Powell says terrorists would earn a victory if American workers leave Saudi Arabia in response to a spate of terrorist attacks, including the murder of hostage Paul Johnson.

"If they leave, then the terrorists have won," Powell said, shortly after Islamic militants beheaded Johnson, who worked on Apache attack helicopter systems for Lockheed Martin.

Associated Press
Powell: U.S. Should Remain in Saudi Arabia
June 19, 2004

Private American citizens currently in Saudi Arabia are strongly urged to depart. On April 14, 2004, due to security concerns, the Department of State ordered the departure of family members and non-emergency employees of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Saudi Arabia.

U.S. State Department
Travel Warning: Saudia Arabia
June 17, 2004

The really funny thing is, when they pulled U.S. troops out of Saudi Arabia, they said the terrorists would lose because it would neutralize one of their main demands. But now they say that if U.S. civilian workers pull out, the terrorists will win because it will satisfy one of their main demands.

This diplomacy stuff is just beyond me, I guess.


Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.