By Karen Elliott House
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter who has spent the final thirty years writing approximately Saudi Arabia—as diplomatic correspondent, international editor, after which writer of The Wall highway Journal—an vital and well timed publication that explores all elements of existence during this shrouded nation: its tribal earlier, its complex current, its precarious future.
via remark, anecdote, broad interviews, and research Karen Elliot residence navigates the maze during which Saudi electorate locate themselves trapped and divulges the mysterious state that's the world’s greatest exporter of oil, serious to worldwide balance, and a resource of Islamic terrorists.
In her probing and sharp-eyed portrait, we see Saudi Arabia, one of many final absolute monarchies on the planet, thought of to be the ultimate bulwark opposed to revolution within the sector, as threatened by way of a number of fissures and forces, its levers of energy managed via a handful of aged Al Saud princes with a standard age of seventy seven years and a longer relations of a few 7,000 princes. but not less than 60 percentage of the more and more restive inhabitants they rule is below the age of 20.
the writer writes that oil-rich Saudi Arabia has turn into a rundown welfare country. the general public can pay no taxes; will get unfastened schooling and well-being care; and gets backed water, electrical energy, and effort (a gallon of fuel is more cost-effective within the country than a bottle of water), with its petrodollars purchasing much less and no more loyalty. condominium makes transparent that the royal kin additionally makes use of Islam’s requirement of obedience to Allah—and by way of extension to earthly rulers—to perpetuate Al Saud rule.
in the back of the Saudi facade of order and obedience, today’s Saudi adolescence, annoyed through social conformity, are attaining out to each other and to a much wider international past their cloistered nation. a few 50 percentage of Saudi formative years is on the web; 5.1 million Saudis are on Facebook.
to jot down this e-book, the writer interviewed many of the key individuals of the very inner most royal family members. She writes approximately King Abdullah’s modest efforts to chill the various kingdom’s such a lot oppressive social regulations; girls at the moment are allowed to obtain photograph identity playing cards, ultimately giving them an identification self sustaining from their male guardians, and are newly capable of check in their very own companies yet are nonetheless forbidden to force and are barred from such a lot jobs.
With remarkable entry to Saudis—from key spiritual leaders and dissident imams to ladies at collage and impoverished widows, from govt officers and political dissidents to younger profitable Saudis and people who selected the trail of terrorism—House argues that the majority Saudis don't need democracy yet search switch however; they need a central authority that offers easy prone with out subjecting voters to the indignity of begging princes for handouts; a central authority much less corrupt and extra obvious in the way it spends hundreds of thousands of billions of annual oil profit; a state governed by means of legislation, now not royal whim.
In House’s evaluate of Saudi Arabia’s destiny, she compares the rustic at the present time to the Soviet Union sooner than Mikhail Gorbachev arrived with reform regulations that proved too little too past due after a long time of stagnation lower than one elderly and infirm Soviet chief after one other. She discusses what the following new release of royal princes could convey and the alternatives the dominion faces: endured monetary and social stultification with growing to be chance of instability, or a gap of society to person initiative and firm with the chance that this, too, undermines the Al Saud carry on power.
A riveting book—informed, authoritative, illuminating—about a rustic which can good be at the verge of collapse, and an in-depth exam of what all this portends for Saudi Arabia’s destiny, and for our own.