Could the Next Mideast Uprising Happen in Saudi Arabia?

(Washington Post) Rachel Bronson - Saudi leaders have reason to believe that they won't find themselves confronting revolutionaries at their own doorstep. Saudi Arabia is different in some important ways. First, its economic situation is far better. Egypt's per capita gross domestic product is slightly more than $6,000. For Saudi Arabia, it is roughly $24,000 and climbing (up from $9,000 a little more than a decade ago). The Saudi regime has resources to spend on its people. Oil prices are high and rising. On Wednesday, the king announced massive social benefits packages totaling more than $35 billion. Clearly the king is nervous, but he has goodies to spread around. The country may be on a very slow path toward modernization, but it is not sliding backward like many others in the Middle East. Another difference between Saudi Arabia and its neighbors is that the opposition has been largely co-opted or destroyed. For the past 10 years, the Saudi government has systematically gone after al-Qaeda cells on its territory and has rooted out suspected supporters in the military and the national guard, especially after a series of attacks in 2003. And the Saudis have been quite clever about convincing the country's liberal elites that the regime is their best hope for a successful future.

2011-03-01 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive