A long, bitter indictment of Riyadh, whose royal denizens are charged with greed, self-interest, and incompetence. ""Like a rotting carcass, the House of Saud is beginning to decompose,"" writes political consultant and journalist Aburish (Children of Bethany, not reviewed, etc.), who blames Saudi Arabia for the long and wide tragedies of the Arab people. The bulk of his documentation alludes to Saudi involvement in scores of political coups, assassinations, destabilizing insurrections, and full-scale civil wars. According to the author, Arafat, Abu Nidal, Qaddafi, and Idi Amin are all among the destructive forces set into place by the Saudis, who are said to feel safest when everyone else is too busy fighting to count the Rolls Royces, wives, and palaces of their royal family. In Aburish's view, the ruling Wahhabi clan has always acted in its own interest and against pan-Arabic movements, quelling even inter-Arab plans to create unified airlines, railway systems, satellite communications, and a Supreme Court. While Aburish tends to see a Zionist or CIA agent behind every oil driller, there is an attempt to balance passion with research. He traces how Saudi Arabia's conservative brand of Islam opposed secular nationalism during the Cold War and how Saudi petro-dollars have supported groups like the anti-nationalist, fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood. But as rising fundamentalism and resentment against the Saudi guardians of Mecca combine with falling economic muscle (Aburish sees the Saudi national debt climbing to $100 billion this year), the author predicts that the Wahhabis will go the way of the Shah of Iran -- with significant repercussions for the West. Despite -- and often because of -- the author's strong bias, this book is valuable reading for anyone who wants to understand the prevailing Arab perceptions of modern Middle Eastern history.