Saudi-Arabia er ikke hva det var. Frykten sprer seg blant utlendingene, og de teller på knappene. De føler seg ikke trygge, rapporterte BBCs Frank Gardner før han ble skutt.

Gardner sier han aldri har opplevd en slik stemning:

This is not the Saudi Arabia I know. In 15 years of coming here, I have only once before seen a sandbagged gun emplacement outside my hotel, and that was when Saddam Hussein’s tanks were massing on the border with Kuwait.

Now the soldiers manning the checkpoints are distinctly nervous, their fingers on the trigger guards of their assault rifles, their faces darting through car windows, checking documents, looking in glove compartments, asking questions.

For Saudi-Arabia vil det være en katastrofe hvis utlendingene drar. Deres tekniske ekspertise er nødvendig for å holde hjulene igang. Likevel er sikkerheten rundt de såkalte «compounds» dårlig, sier Gardner.

Twice last year, al-Qaeda fanatics were able to shoot their way past the guards at the gate, then drive truck bombs into the heart of the compounds.

Investigations are still continuing into how the group that attacked Khobar last weekend was able to run amok in the compound for hours on end.

Ex-pats I spoke to have little confidence in the defensive abilities of the unarmed security guards. Most are paid less than $500 (£300) a month and many have no training at all.

Saudi terror fear rattles foreigners