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Saudi Arabia: Change Begins within the Family

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As the “Arab Spring” changes the political landscape of the Middle East, the oil-rich monarchies, led by Saudi Arabia, are hard at work to stop the revolutionary movement at their borders. The effort to date, however, has been far from successful. Changes at the top tier of leadership structures have already happened in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, albeit for different reasons. In Kuwait, a revolt by parliamentarians last winter led to the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser bin Muhammad bin Ahmad Al Sabah. In Saudi Arabia, the death of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud paved the way for a reshuffling of the cards within the ruling family, with ripples going through the kingdom's political structure. These changes could affect the kingdom's domestic and foreign policies in the years to come.

In this adaptation of a chapter from his forthcoming book, The Kingdom of Allah: The Struggle for Saudi Arabia, Amir Taheri provides an insider's look at the hermetic world of the ruling princes.
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Keywords: Royal Family; Saudi Arabia; inter-family management; reform and anti-reform currents; succession

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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