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Countering the Pull of Islamic Extremism in Saudi Arabia

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Since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States researchers have made a concerted attempt to better understand the factors that underlie the recruiting successes of groups like al-Qa’ida. A whole spectrum of motivations, political, socio-economic, religious and emotional have been identified. No doubt the relative strength of these factors will vary considerably from country to country. Given its connection to the September 11 terrorists, Saudi Arabia is of particular interest. An assessment of the Saudi situation finds limited economic and political prospects for large segments of the population stemming from a failed economic transition which may be a key factor explaining the pull of extremist groups in that country.

Keywords: Saudi Arabia; economic transition; reforms; socio-economic development; terrorism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey

Publication date: 2006-01-01

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  • Political Crossroads is a bi-annual, international, refereed journal which, since 1990, publishes critical and empirical scholarship in political science and international relations. Its areas of focus include global security, terrorism, national identity, migration and citizenship, and the politics of resources and trade.
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