Posts Tagged Saudi Arabia
There is much speculation on a warming of relations, and even collaboration, between Saudi Arabia and Israel in the aftermath of the Iran nuclear deal. Both countries perceive a nuclear Iran to be a great threat. However, given its history and concern for the legitimacy of its rule, the Saudi royal family is more likely to draw closer to Iran than to Israel.
The smooth succession of royals is crucial to the stability of the Saudi oil state. Ever since King Faysal, the Saudi monarchy has alternated branches of the family on the throne in order to maintain a degree of balance between competing royal family factions. This principle is likely to hold true today too, as the kingdom navigates its way from the rule of King Abdullah and the now-deceased Crown Prince Sultan to the rule of Crown Prince and next king, Nayif. The process of balancing and satisfying royal factions depends on patience and conservatism within royal circles. It also requires quiet in the streets of Riyadh and Jedda – and thus far, there are no signs of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ spreading to Saudi Arabia.
While unrest has rattled the Middle East in recent months, Saudi Arabia has taken all necessary measures to maintain stability within its own borders. Its success in doing so stems from two factors: oil wealth and tradition. The royal family has appeased its citizens by pumping more money into the economy and into their pockets. At the same time, religious inclinations as well as a lack of tradition of mass political activity have ingrained in most of the Saudi people a sense of loyalty toward its leadership.