The Saudi royal house has attained some equilibrium after six years of succession battles between King Fahd’s full brothers of the Sudeiri clan and Crown Prince Abdullah, a Shumeiri, whose claim to the throne they blocked. King Fahd has long been ailing and in practice Abdullah is in charge. The long struggle, at the end of which the Crown Prince reached an understanding with his half brothers and the Americans, has vitiated the royal rulers and they desperately need quiet to recuperate. The princes cannot therefore be bothered with the fate of the Palestinians or their war. They want to be left in peace to address themselves to their overriding concern, which is to persuade the new Bush administration in Washington to hold back the ambitious Alaska oil development program, or at least to curtail it. Instead, they want American development funds diverted to digging new wells in Saudi Arabia and the modernization of its oil and gas industries. The Saudis will therefore do everything in their power to avert a Middle East war and in any event stay on the sidelines of any conflict.