Magazine article New Internationalist

The Battle for Saudi Arabia: Royalty, Fundamentalism and Global Power

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Battle for Saudi Arabia: Royalty, Fundamentalism and Global Power

Article excerpt

Books The Battle for Saudi Arabia Royalty, Fundamentalism and Global Power by As'ad AbuKhalil (Seven Stories Press, ISBN1 58322 6109)

Because of its awesome oil wealth and the paranoid control of its ruling dynasty, books about Saudi Arabia tend to be either anodyne and airbrushed histories or cringing hagiographies of the Saudi royal family. As'ad Abukhalil's The Battle for Saudi Arabia is certainly neither of these; he combines meticulous scholarship with passionate anger and has produced an excellent pocket history of the repressive regime that has ruled the country since 1932.

In this fascinating and accessible investigation of the history and power structure of Saudi Arabia, As'ad Abukhalil's central thesis is that the props that have sustained the House of Saud for decades are crumbling. He anatomizes these props - unwavering support from the US, the ability to buy off a corrupt and quiescent Middle East media and, most importantly, the intimate intermeshirtg of the totalitarian ruling class and the extremist Sunni Wahhabi faith that is the state religion and, effectively, the law of the land. …

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