Inside Saudi Arabia’s party scene

As a general rule, I will click on any WikiLeaks cable titled "Underground Party Scene in Jeddah." And this account of a Halloween party at a prince’s residence in the coastal Saudi city does not disappoint. Here’s what one diplomat had to say about what went on beyond the "abaya coat-check": Alcohol, though strictly prohibited ...

Omar Salem/AFP/Getty Images
Omar Salem/AFP/Getty Images
Omar Salem/AFP/Getty Images

As a general rule, I will click on any WikiLeaks cable titled "Underground Party Scene in Jeddah." And this account of a Halloween party at a prince's residence in the coastal Saudi city does not disappoint. Here's what one diplomat had to say about what went on beyond the "abaya coat-check":

Alcohol, though strictly prohibited by Saudi law and custom, was plentiful at the party's well-stocked bar, well-patronized by Halloween revellers. The hired Filipino bartenders served a cocktail punch using "sadiqi," a locally-made "moonshine." While top-shelf liquor bottles were on display throughout the bar area, the original contents were reportedly already consumed and replaced by sadiqi … It was also learned through word-of-mouth that a number of the guests were in fact "working girls," not uncommon for such parties. Additionally, though not witnessed directly at this event, cocaine and hashish use is common in these social circles and has been seen on other occasions.

The revelers told the diplomat that they hold such events at the homes of Saudi princes -- an effective method for keeping the religious police at bay.

As a general rule, I will click on any WikiLeaks cable titled "Underground Party Scene in Jeddah." And this account of a Halloween party at a prince’s residence in the coastal Saudi city does not disappoint. Here’s what one diplomat had to say about what went on beyond the "abaya coat-check":

Alcohol, though strictly prohibited by Saudi law and custom, was plentiful at the party’s well-stocked bar, well-patronized by Halloween revellers. The hired Filipino bartenders served a cocktail punch using "sadiqi," a locally-made "moonshine." While top-shelf liquor bottles were on display throughout the bar area, the original contents were reportedly already consumed and replaced by sadiqi … It was also learned through word-of-mouth that a number of the guests were in fact "working girls," not uncommon for such parties. Additionally, though not witnessed directly at this event, cocaine and hashish use is common in these social circles and has been seen on other occasions.

The revelers told the diplomat that they hold such events at the homes of Saudi princes — an effective method for keeping the religious police at bay.

More from Foreign Policy

Oleg Salyukov salutes to soldiers during Russia’s Victory Day parade.
Oleg Salyukov salutes to soldiers during Russia’s Victory Day parade.

Stop Falling for Russia’s Delusions of Perpetual Victory

The best sources on the war are the Ukrainians on the ground.

A fire rages at the Central Research Institute of the Aerospace Defense Forces in Tver, Russia
A fire rages at the Central Research Institute of the Aerospace Defense Forces in Tver, Russia

Could Sabotage Stop Putin From Using the Nuclear Option?

If the West is behind mysterious fires in Russia, the ongoing—but deniable—threat could deter Putin from escalating.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi is received by his Kenyan counterpart, Raychelle Omamo, in Mombasa, Kenya.
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi is received by his Kenyan counterpart, Raychelle Omamo, in Mombasa, Kenya.

While America Slept, China Became Indispensable

Washington has long ignored much of the world. Beijing hasn’t.

A bulldozer demolishes an illegal structure during a joint anti-encroachment drive conducted by North Delhi Municipal Corporation
A bulldozer demolishes an illegal structure during a joint anti-encroachment drive conducted by North Delhi Municipal Corporation

The World Ignored Russia’s Delusions. It Shouldn’t Make the Same Mistake With India.

Hindu nationalist ideologues in New Delhi are flirting with a dangerous revisionist history of South Asia.