The Royal Touch
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 15--One of the more surreal scenes of the eight-day presidential trip to the Middle East may have taken place this evening at the lavish Al Janadriyah Ranch, the so-called "horse farm" where Saudi King Abdullah entertains his most favored guests and raises Arabian stallions.
When the president arrived for dinner, a little before 7 p.m. local time, he was wearing a black full-length robe with bluish-silver trim and seeming eminently pleased, as Steven Lee Myers of the New York Times described it in his pool report last night. Later, when he sat down with the king and took off the robe, it became clear that it was lined with fur.
When his aides showed up, they too were wearing similar robes. The contingent included White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, Counselor Ed Gillespie, Press Secretary Dana Perino and--most curiously perhaps--National Security Council staffer Elliott Abrams, better known in Washington as possibly Israel's staunchest supporter inside the White House.
When asked by Newsweek reporter Michael Hirsh, Elliott of Arabia said he was allowed to keep the robe, suggesting these were gifts for all.
Perhaps Bush is right that the time is ripe for Middle East peace.
-- Michael Abramowitz
By washingtonpost.com Editors |
January 15, 2008; 6:35 PM ET
Bush in Middle East, Jan. 2008
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