Lina al-Bassam is a young Saudi woman who was studying in Washington under the watchful eye of her parents and apparently the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington. Lina is a very young and beautiful woman who managed to stay out of trouble because of the guidance of her parents and the strict upbringing she had. Her father is a well know and respected Saudi citizen who has given a lot to his country in the form of naval expertise and was instrumental in building the Saudi Navy in the early eighties under a $5 billion Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract to a consortium of three US companies : Hughes, Bendix , and Havner (HBH).
During the early 1995, Bandar bin Sultan had a big party at his private home in McLean, Virginia and Lina was invited after he learned of her beauty. Even the guests at that party noticed Bandar's behavior around Lina al-Bassam. He was completely taken by her beauty. Bandar is a married man with seven children.<>
Princess Haifa, the daughter of King Faisal, and wife to Bandar bin Sultan, is a very respectful and dignified woman. She noticed Bandar's behavior but restrained herself because her rights as a woman in a Saudi household is to accept her fate no matter what her husband does. Bandar meanwhile was head over heels and under the spell of Lina's beauty. This spell unfortunately did not last long when in October 1995, when Prince Sultan visited the US to seal the Boeing purchase at $6 billion, he also noticed Lina when she was introduced to him in a private gathering. That introduction was instrumental in sealing the fate of Lina as another wife to Sultan. A woman in Saudi Arabia does not say no to a marriage offer especially when it comes from the all powerful Sultan. Mind you, Sultan has married over a 100 woman. Another one, for him, is simply a bed companion, for her, a lifetime commitment on her part. Bandar, while disappointed, tried to take credit for this arranged marriage by telling his father that he kept her for him. During this period, Lina's father Omar al-Bassam was so proud to be related to Sultan that he completely forgot that he was dealing with Sultan, a corrupt and undignified human being.
Lina arrived Riyadh in the middle of November full of hope and naive enough to believe that she could be THE woman for Sultan and that she will be able to exert some feminine charm to get her way. She was placed in one of his palaces (Sultan has several palaces in Saudi Arabia, three of them he has never set his foot in and maintained at a very high expense by the government). Lina waited and waited for Sultan to come to his bridal bed. Her waiting ended three months after her marriage to him when he suddenly showed up and wanted to exercise his rights as a husband.
During all that period, the poor Lina thought that he was away on travel but while scanning the papers, she noticed that he was indeed in Riyadh. So the first thing the poor Lina uttered while she was trying to slip Sultan's slippers in his feet was :"I see your highness that you have been in Riyadh for a while and you have not visited me". Sultan in one swift gesture muttered :"Since when a woman holds me accountable for my movements". He left the palace angry and Lina was delivered her divorce papers the next day and shipped back to Washington where once again she is under scrutiny and control of Bandar.
Lina's story is one of thousands like her. Women in Saudi Arabia have no rights whatsoever regardless of their education, social ladder, or capacity to give to their country. In Saudi Arabia, Mme Curie does not exist. Al-Saud do not believe that a woman has any role in society except to deliver babies......Associated Press.
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