Saudi Arabia Defies Mideast Upheaval
By Glen Carey – May 17, 2011 5:01 PM ET –Bloomberg
Saudi Arabia is leading a counter- revolution against the sweeping political changes in the Middle East by using money, force and God.
As popular movements for democracy toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia and began threatening neighboring Bahrain and Yemen, Saudi Arabia’s Al Saud royal family strengthened control over the Arab world’s biggest economy. Once restrictive of the Muslim clerics, King Abdullah offered money and new censorship powers for their loyalty as he doled out 500 billion riyals ($130 billion) nationally in housing grants and other sweeteners.
The Al Saud have “positioned themselves as the guardians of the status quo,” Christopher Davidson, author of “Power and Politics in the Persian Gulf Monarchies,” said in response to e-mailed questions. “We are seeing a resistance to genuine reform by using a mixture of carrots and sticks.”
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