What is the Abaya Policy?


When United States troops were first sent to Saudi Arabia due to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the country’s top priority was maintaining cordial relations with Saudi leaders and protecting U.S. troops from terrorist attacks. In an attempt to adhere to these goals, the Bush administration had to negotiate the standards of living for the women serving in the Islamic state who were associated with the United States forces. After negotiations were made, it was determined that under the Abaya Policy, all female personnel were required to "wear the customary head-to-toe gown, the abaya and its matching head scarf, similar to the Afghan burqa" while off base ("Martha McSally’s Garb…"). They could not drive, instead they rode in the back seat. They were required to be escorted by males at all times.