DON - A world of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll plays out behind the official Islamic law observances of Saudi Arabian royalty, U.S. diplomats say in cables revealed by WikiLeaks and quoted by the Guardian newspaper.
Consulate officials in Jeddah, describing an underground Halloween party thrown last year by a member of the large Al-Thunayan family, said liquor and prostitutes were present in abundance behind heavily guarded villa gates, the Guardian said.
The diplomats wanted to keep the family member's identity secret, the Guardian said.
A U.S. energy drinks company helped finance the party, it said.
"Alcohol, though strictly prohibited by Saudi law and custom, was plentiful at the party's well-stocked bar. The hired Filipino bartenders served a cocktail punch using sadiqi, a locally-made moonshine," said the cable quoted by the Guardian. "It was also learned through word-of-mouth that a number of the guests were in fact 'working girls', not uncommon for such parties."
The Guardian said the dispatch from U.S. partygoers, signed off by the consul in Jeddah, Martin Quinn, added: "Though not witnessed directly at this event, cocaine and hashish use is common in these social circles."
The "thriving and throbbing" Saudi underground party scene is protected by Saudi royalty but available only behind closed doors for the very rich, whose homes feature basement bars, discos and clubs, said the cable, according to the Guardian.
Royal patronage meant that the more than 150 Saudi men and women, most in their 20s and 30s, partied without fear of religious police, according to the cable, which described the use of a strict guest list: "The scene resembled a nightclub anywhere outside the kingdom: plentiful alcohol, young couples dancing, a DJ at the turntables and everyone in costume."
The diplomats, the cable said, also explained why they thought their host was so attached to Nigerian bodyguards, some of whom were working on the door: "Most of the prince's security forces were young Nigerian men. It is common practice for Saudi princes to grow up with hired bodyguards from Nigeria or other African nations who are of similar age and who remain with the prince well into adulthood. The lifetime spent together creates an intense bond of loyalty."
The cable, the Guardian said, noted the kingdom has 10,000 princes, some "royal highnesses" directly descended from King Abdul Aziz and "highnesses" from less direct branches.
One high-society Saudi, quoted by the Guardian, told the diplomat: "The increased conservatism of our society over these past years has only moved social interaction to the inside of people's homes."