Blogs are a familiar feature on the internet - where users post content in an accumulating manner, with comments, and search options, etc. They facilitate expression and exploration, and via attached comments, also debate and synthesis.
Reading and Navigating Blogs
Our blogs are quite powerful. Each writer can post, as is typically the case. Sustainers who have the option can also post, however. All Blogs appear in the blog system, and sometimes also in content boxes the top page of ZNet - and always via the left menu of the top page - and can be found via searches, etc.
Commenting on blogs follows the blogs, attached at the bottom, and blog comments, like all others, are also visible in many places that show comments including in the forum system. In addition, the entire blog system gathers content for everyone - but one can look at the accumulating content in many ways.
For example one can look at one writer's efforts - so one is seeing what is effectively a blog system for that one writer, or Sustainer.
One can also look at the content by topic, seeing blogs that are tagged as being about a certain topic - or place, as well. Thus, when doing that, it is a blog system about a topic, or a place, with many contributors.
One can look at only writer blogs, or only sustainer blogs, as well.
One can look at blogs for particular Groups, too.
All this is easily done using the left menu. Searches allow even more variables and refinements.
Creating Blog Posts
If you are a Sustainer with permission, and are logged in, you will see a link in the left menu for you to post a blog - and you can use that to post one, and then tag it various ways (such as with a topic or place, or a group tag), and once you do, it is in the system with you as the author.
You can also use the console button to the left to post a blog - anytime and from anywhere in the site, as long as you are logged in.
Meanwhile, enjoy the blogs - and, by the way, if you are a Free Member or a Sustainer with a ZSpace page, of course you can put one or more content boxes on it, pulling blog links of any sort you may want to filter for, for example, by you or by your friends or by others - and by topic, about places, for groups, etc.
It's often pointed out in the international relations literature that the notion "puppet" is not a simple one. Puppets can often influence the dominant power significantly. The Soviet satellites were certainly "puppets," if the term has any meaning. But unlike Western powers, Russia subsidized its satellites massively, to the extent that they were mostly richer than the mother country itself. Not out of deep human sympathy, but for straight power reasons.
Same in this case. I can't really expand on the statement you quote without running through the history since the 1930s. I've discussed a little of it in print, and there's a great deal more literature on it, but I can't try to review it here.
Up to the highest levels of the US government (Wolfowitz for one,
explicitly) it's understood that US bases in Saudi Arabia were a major rallying cry (probably quite sincere) for bin Laden. That's why they've been downgraded.
The Saudis have some freedom of action. The same is true of subordinates, even local store owners, in a Mafia-controlled system. If they go too far, they'll get in trouble. Furthermore, their own interests are closely aligned with Western (primarily US) power. They don't represent their own populations, after all.
Since the 1950s, it's been clear enough -- even explicit in high-level US internal documents -- that the people of the region bitterly resent US support for corrupt and brutal ruling groups and US opposition to democracy and development.
There's no doubt that al-Qaeda regards the Saudi rulers as one of its chief enemies, maybe the prime enemy. But that does not imply that elements within those ruling circles refrain from exploiting al-Qaeda-style organizations for their own purposes. The US was hardly pro-Nazi after World War II, but happily used some of the worst Nazi war criminals for its own purposes.