A superficial understanding of Saudi society, history and the groups and regions that want to get rid of the House of Saud seems to lead Western prognosticators to accept the Saudi government's account of events in that important and unstable country ["For Saudi Arabia, Al Qaeda Threat Is Now Hitting Home; Kingdom Itself Seen as a Target," news story, June 8].

While the Islamic extremists are dangerous and must be neutralized, they are not the only Saudis threatening the stability and unity of that country.

Some of the oppressed religious minorities in eastern and southern Saudi Arabia are active in violent actions against the House of Saud and those who support it. Groups from the Asir, Shammar and Hijaz regions also may be involved in recent violence.

Other frustrated elements -- who have been calling for a constitutional government, but instead have been thrown into prison -- are the democratic movements. All of these groups want to end the reign of the House of Saud for, in some cases, incompatible causes and reasons.

The West should focus more on the Saudi ruling family's oppressive policies and unwillingness to share power and wealth with its people.



The writer, a Saudi, is a former senior fellow at the Saudi Institute.