Magazine article New Internationalist

Saudi Arabia: A Kingdom in Peril/Muted Modernists

Magazine article New Internationalist

Saudi Arabia: A Kingdom in Peril/Muted Modernists

Article excerpt

Saudi Arabia: A Kingdom in Peril by Paul Aarts and Carolien Roelants (Hurst, ISBN 978 1 84904 465 3)

Muted Modernists by Madawi Al-Rasheed (Hurst ISBN 978 1 84904 586 5)

Few regimes seem as unassailable as that of Saudi Arabia - an absolute monarchy and serial human rights abuser. While dictators and autocrats were toppling like dominoes during the 'A rab Spring' the House of Saud remained unscathed - a testament to a repressive state machinery, coupled with a Wahhabist religious establishment that lends it legitimacy.

So, the subtitle of Aarts' and Roelants' wonderfully clear, vivid and fact-filled book may come as a bit of a surprise. The authors don't predict the regime's imminent demise, but they do highlight the many kinds of unrest - economic, environmental, demographic, political - that deeply threaten it. A worry for the royal dictatorship is the country's growing population of digital-savvy youth, becoming daily more connected - and expressive. …

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