Accessing this world is a difficult undertaking for foreign journalists, granted only with the assistance of a few dedicated social workers who risk government opprobrium to expose the realities of life lived on the margins.
The humorous clips show Abu Sin and Christina, 21, chatting from their homes in California and Saudi Arabia, battling language differences between English and Arabic and jokingly declaring their love for one another.
In one, Abu Sin – whose nickname translates as “toothless” – dons a traditional Saudi headdress and sings Christina a traditional song before asking her to marry him.
Beggars panhandle in the shadows of Riyadh’s luxury shopping malls, and just a few kilometers away families struggle to get by in the capital’s southern slums.
While the government has finally acknowledged that poverty is a problem in the kingdom, the world of the Saudi poor is largely hidden from sight (to read more, see the new article on Saudi Arabia in the international edition of TIME, available to subscribers here).
“We’ve seen many cases in which Saudi prosecutors and judges have used vague provisions this law to charge and try Saudi citizens for peaceful tweets and social media comments,” Mr Coogle told The Independent.
“The case raises serious concerns about the Saudi criminal justice system, both that authorities would target someone for a very trivial speech-related issue, but also that they would arrest a teenager on these grounds.Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has become a key broker in the political struggle in Libya, and is improving ties with predominantly Sunni Arab Gulf states who seek Russia’s help in curbing the influence of Iran—an ally of Moscow and an archrival of Saudi Arabia.Putin has shown a striking ability to transcend traditional dividing lines in the region, also cultivating ties with Israel, Palestinian factions, and Egypt.With its vast oil wealth, Saudi Arabia has one of the highest concentrations of super rich households in the world.But an estimated 20 percent of the population, if not more, lives in crippling poverty.Prince Al Waleed bin Talal, Saudi Arabia’s richest investor, estimates that he has given several billions of dollars in charity over the past 30 years, much of it wired directly to the accounts of petitioners who apply to his office for assistance with paying back loans, buying a car or getting married.