Joel Mowbray

It was no wonder that Saudi Arabia’s slick spokesman Adel al-Jubeir was racing around Capitol Hill on Thursday: two hearings were held simultaneously that afternoon on Saudi Arabia, one on child abductions, the other on how the Saudis bankroll terrorism.

  The child abduction hearing couldn’t have been more timely given the intense news coverage of the past week of Sara Saga.  Sara is a 24-year-old mother of two who had spent just over a week holed up in the U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with her children.  She escaped from her abusive Saudi husband, and she tried to get her children out of the desert prison, receiving powerful media assistance from the Wall Street Journal and Fox News.  Sara, who was kidnapped to the Kingdom when she was six years old, didn’t want her children to grow up under a despotic regime as she had been forced to.  But her dream of freedom for her children was sadly not realized.

  Two days before the hearings, Sara arrived in the United States—but without her children.  State Department officials in Jeddah—the Saudis’ greatest friends—allowed a Saudi goon squad to enter the U.S. consulate and bamboozle the terrified young mother into signing an “agreement” whereby she essentially forfeited her parental rights.  Even though within hours Sara, upon realizing what she had done, wanted to take back what had happened, the fate of five-year-old Ibrahim and three-year-old Hanin had been sealed. 

  Unless Sara’s children fare better than the dozens—or more—of other American children held hostage in the Kingdom, they will remain trapped there for years.

  Although Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar—the best friend the State Department, and thus the House of Saud, has in the Senate—tried to downplay the significance of Saudi Arabia in child abduction cases, it was clear to the standing-room-only audience that the hearing was very much about our so-called ally. 

Joel Mowbray

Joel Mowbray, who got his start with, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.

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