In Saudi Arabia and the New Strategic Landscape (2010), Joshua Teitelbaum evaluates Saudi foreign policy in the Persian Gulf and in the Arab-Israeli peace process and provides a shrewd assessment of the Saudi-U.S. relationship. He debunks the traditional view of Saudi foreign policy that emphasizes the Saudi concern with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and explains how the true concern of Arabia’s rulers is the ideological battle that has been opened up by Iran’s push into Arab affairs.
The Political Liberalisation in the Persian Gulf (2009): The countries of the Persian (or Arab) Gulf produce about thirty percent of the planet’s oil and keep around fifty-five percent of its reserves underground. The stability of the region’s autocratic regimes, therefore, is crucial for those who wish to anchor the world’s economic and political future.
Yet despite its reputation as a region trapped by tradition, the Persian Gulf has taken slow steps toward political liberalization. The question now is whether this trend is part of an inexorable drive toward democratization or simply a means for autocratic regimes to consolidate and legitimize their rule.
The essays in this volume address the push toward political liberalization in the Persian Gulf and its implications for the future, tracking eight states as they respond to the challenges of increased wealth and education, a developing middle class, external pressures from international actors, and competing social and political groups.
Holier Than Though: Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Opposition (2001): Few countries are governed more closely by the strictures of Islam than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ironically, as Teitelbaum points out in this analysis, radical Islamic fundamentalists such as Osama bin Laden still pose the most substantial security threat to the ruling Al Sa’ud family, guardians of Islam’s two holiest shrines and the world’s largest source of oil. Composed of both mainstream Sunni and minority Shi’i radicals, Saudi Arabia’s Islamic opposition questions the legitimacy of the Al Sa’ud family’s longstanding claim to govern according to Islamic Shari’a law. Indeed, the radical fundamentalists stand poised to shake the public image of Saudi Arbia as the only Islamic country to have achieved a succesful marriage between tradition and modernity. This volume explores the social, political and economic roots of the Saudi opposition, giving a context to the phenomenon of bin Laden. The future of US-Saudi relations, which since September 11 2001 have become primary concern to all Americans, hinges upon a deeper understanding of the severe Islamic troubles that plague the Saudi Arabian regime.
The Rise and Fall of the Hashemite Kingdom of Arabia: (2000): The Hashemite Kingdom of the Hijaz in Arabia, played a crucial role in modern Middle Eastern history from its founding in 1916 until its demise in 1925. It was the first Arab country to gain independence from the Ottoman Empire, and it’s rulers led the Arab Revolt of “Lawrence of Arabia” fame. The holy cities of Mecca and Medina flourished under its control and it was praised as a model of justice and a beacon of hope for the Muslim world. Yet for all its significance, the Kingdom has received little attention from historians.
In The Rise and Fall of the Hashemite Kingdom we learn how the Hijaz wrested its independence from the Ottoman Empire in the storied “Revolt in the Desert” and was celebrated by journalists and world leaders alike. But Teitlebaum is most concerned with the state’s ultimate failure Using original sources, he shows how the kingdom was plagued by civil conflict between the Hashemite rulers (the ancestors of the current king of Jordan) and the influential Saudi family, and subject to the whims of Britain and the great powers of Europe.
In engaging prose, Teitelbaum tells a story of revolt, civil war, colonialism, political Islam, and revolutionary misrule that mirrors conflicts in the Middle East of today.