In Princes, Brokers, and Bureaucrats, the most thorough treatment of the political economy of Saudi Arabia to date, Steffen Hertog uncovers an untold history of how the elite rivalries and whims of half a century ago have shaped today's Saudi state and are reflected in its policies. Starting in the late 1990s, Saudi Arabia embarked on an ambitious reform campaign to remedy its long-term economic stagnation. The results have been puzzling for both area specialists and political economists: Saudi institutions have not failed across the board, as theorists of the "rentier state" would predict, nor have they achieved the all-encompassing modernization the regime has touted. Instead, the kingdom has witnessed a bewildering mélange of thorough failures and surprising successes. Hertog argues that it is traits peculiar to the Saudi state that make sense of its uneven capacities. Oil rents since World War II have shaped Saudi state institutions in ways that are far from uniform. Oil money has given regime elites unusual leeway for various institutional experiments in different parts of the state: in some cases creating massive rent-seeking networks deeply interwoven with local society; in others large but passive bureaucracies; in yet others insulated islands of remarkable efficiency. This process has fragmented the Saudi state into an uncoordinated set of vertically divided fiefdoms. Case studies of foreign investment reform, labor market nationalization and WTO accession reveal how this oil-funded apparatus enables swift and successful policy-making in some policy areas, but produces coordination and regulation failures in others.
In Oil, the State, and War, Emma Ashford explores the many potential links between domestic oil production and foreign policy behavior. By examining the behaviors of three types of petrostates–oil-dependent states, oil-wealthy states, and super-producers–Ashford sheds light on the diversity of petrostates and how they shape international affairs.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia began his rule in 2015 confronted with a series of unprecedented challenges. The dilemmas he has faced are new and significant, from leadership shuffles and falling oil prices to regional and international upheaval. Salman's Legacy interrogates this era and assesses its multiple social, political, regional and international challenges. Whether Salman's policies have saved the kingdom from serious upheaval is yet to be seen, but no doubt a new kingdom is emerging. This book offers historical and contemporary insights into the various problems that persist in haunting the Saudi state. Madawi Al-Rasheed brings together well-established historians and social scientists with deep knowledge of Saudi Arabia--its history, culture and contemporary politics--to reflect on Salman's kingdom. They trace both policy continuities and recent ruptures that have perplexed observers of Saudi Arabia. This lucid and nuanced analysis invites serious reflection on the Saudi leadership's capacity to withstand the recent challenges, especially those that came with the Arab uprisings. At stake is the future of a country that remains vital to regional stability, international security, and the global economy.
'Clear-eyed and illuminating.' Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor 'A rich, superbly researched, balanced history of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.' General David Petraeus, former Commander U.S. Central Command and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency 'Destined to be the best single volume on the Kingdom.' Ambassador Chas Freeman, former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Assistant Secretary of Defense 'Should be prescribed reading for a new generation of political leaders.' Sir Richard Dearlove, former Chief of H.M. Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge. Something extraordinary is happening in Saudi Arabia. A traditional, tribal society once known for its lack of tolerance is rapidly implementing significant economic and social reforms. An army of foreign consultants is rewriting the social contract, King Salman has cracked down hard on corruption, and his dynamic though inexperienced son, the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, is promoting a more tolerant Islam. But is all this a new vision for Saudi Arabia or merely a mirage likely to dissolve into Iranian-style revolution? David Rundell - one of America's foremost experts on Saudi Arabia - explains how the country has been stable for so long, why it is less so today, and what is most likely to happen in the future. The book is based on the author's close contacts and intimate knowledge of the country where he spent 15 years living and working as a diplomat. Vision or Mirage demystifies one of the most powerful, but least understood, states in the Middle East and is essential reading for anyone interested in the power dynamics and politics of the Arab World.
Why do tribal genealogies matter in modern-day Saudi Arabia? What compels the strivers and climbers of the new Saudi Arabia to want to prove their authentic descent from one or another prestigious Arabian tribe? Of Sand or Soil looks at how genealogy and tribal belonging have informed the lives of past and present inhabitants of Saudi Arabia and how the Saudi government's tacit glorification of tribal origins has shaped the powerful development of the kingdom’s genealogical culture. Nadav Samin presents the first extended biographical exploration of the major twentieth-century Saudi scholar Ḥamad al-Jāsir, whose genealogical studies frame the story about belonging and identity in the modern kingdom. Samin examines the interplay between al-Jāsir’s genealogical project and his many hundreds of petitioners, mostly Saudis of nontribal or lower status origin who sought validation of their tribal roots in his genealogical texts. Investigating the Saudi relationship to this opaque, orally inscribed historical tradition, Samin considers the consequences of modern Saudi genealogical politics and how the most intimate anxieties of nontribal Saudis today are amplified by the governing strategies and kinship ideology of the Saudi state. Challenging the impression that Saudi culture is determined by puritanical religiosity or rentier economic principles, Of Sand or Soil shows how the exploration and establishment of tribal genealogies have become influential phenomena in contemporary Saudi society. Beyond Saudi Arabia, this book casts important new light on the interplay between kinship ideas, oral narrative, and state formation in rapidly changing societies.
The 2011 Arab uprisings and their subsequent aftermath have thrown into question some of our long-held assumptions about the foundational aspects of the Arab state. While the regional and international consequences of the uprisings continue to unfold with great unpredictability, their ramifications for the internal lives of the states in which they unfolded are just as dramatic and consequential. States historically viewed as models of strength and stability have been shaken to their foundations. Borders thought impenetrable have collapsed; sovereignty and territoriality have been in flux. This book examines some of the central questions facing observers and scholars of the Middle East concerning the nature of power and politics before and after 2011 in the Arab world. The focus of the book revolves around the very nature of politics and the exercise of power in the Arab world, conceptions of the state, its functions and institutions, its sources of legitimacy, and basic notions underlying it such as sovereignty and nationalism. Inside the Arab State adopts a multi-disciplinary approach, examining a broad range of political, economic, and social variables. It begins with an examination of politics, and more specifically political institutions, in the Arab world from the 1950s on, tracing the travail of states, and the wounds they inflicted on society and on themselves along the way, until the eruption of the 2011 uprisings. The uprisings, the states' responses to them, and efforts by political leaders to carve out for themselves means of legitimacy are also discussed, as are the reasons for the emergence and rise of Daesh and the Islamic State. Power, I argue, and increasingly narrow conceptions of it in terms of submission and conformity, remains at the heart of Arab politics, popular protests and yearnings for change notwithstanding. Much has changed in the Arab world over the last several decades. But even more has stayed the same.
In The Political Science of the Middle East, Marc Lynch, Jillian Schwedler, and Sean Yom have developed a definitive, state-of-the-art overview of research on the topic. Collectively, a group of the world's leading experts and scholars of the Middle East summarize the breadth of political science research in the Middle East. They present major theoretical developments since the Arab uprisings, while giving an review of key debates and pathbreaking findingsin contemporary political science research in the Middle East and North Africa.
In this groundbreaking book Kent E. Calder argues that a new transnational configuration is emerging in Asia, driven by economic growth, rising energy demand, and the erosion of longstanding geopolitical divisions. What Calder calls the New Silk Road—with a strengthening multi-faceted relationship between East Asia and the Middle East at its core—could eventually emerge as one of the world’s most important multilateral configurations. Straddling the border between comparative politics and international relations theory, this important book will stimulate debate and discussion in both fields.
Rising Powers and State Transformation advances the concept of ‘state transformation’ as a useful lens through which to examine rising power states’ foreign policymaking and implementation, with chapters dedicated to China, Russia, India, Brazil, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. The volume breaks with the prevalent tendency in International Relations (IR) scholarship to treat rising powers as unitary actors in international politics. Although a neat demarcation of the domestic and international domains, on which the notion of unitary agency is premised, has always been a myth, these states’ uneven integration into the global political economy has eroded this perspective’s empirical purchase considerably. Instead, this volume employs the concept of ‘state transformation’ as a lens through which to examine rising power states’ foreign policymaking and implementation. State transformation refers to the pluralisation of cross-border state agency via contested and uneven processes of fragmentation, decentralisation and internationalisation of state apparatuses. The volume demonstrates the significance of state transformation processes for explaining some of these states’ key foreign policy agendas, and outlines the implications for the wider field in IR. With chapters dedicated to all of today’s most important rising power states, Rising Powers and State Transformation will be of great interest to scholars of IR, international politics and foreign policy. The chapters were originally published as a special issue of Third World Quarterly.
An overview of the history, religion, political economy, and politics of the Middle East, with individual chapters devoted to each of the countries in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf, Eastern Mediterranean, and North Africa.
Combining elements of comparative politics with a country-by-country analysis, author David S. Sorenson provides a complete and accessible introduction to the modern Middle East. With an emphasis on the politics of the region, the text also dedicates chapters specifically to the history, religions, and economies of countries in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf, the Eastern Mediterranean, and North Africa. In each country chapter, a brief political history is followed by discussions of democratization, religious politics, women's issues, civil society, economic development, privatization, and foreign relations. In this updated and revised second edition, An Introduction to the Modern Middle East includes new material on the Arab Spring, the changes in Turkish politics, the Iranian nuclear issues, and the latest efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dilemma. Introductory chapters provide an important thematic overview for each of the book's individual country chapters and short vignettes throughout the book offer readers a chance for personal reflection.
Publisher: King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS)
At a time of profound regional and international transformations that extend beyond the political, Middle Easterners in general and Arabs in particular ponder their future, as well as how to best preserve and protect their interests and, equally important, their cultures. As non-Arabs interpret and opine about Arab civilization far more than indigenous thinkers, how can we understand what motivates scholars and opinion-makers, and how can Arab analysts highlight indigenous perspectives? What are the core factors that separate non-Arab scholars from their Arab counterparts? Can the perceptions of nearly 500 million individuals be mislabeled so frequently and so easily, and what ought to be done to repair the damage already done? Do Arab thinkers bear any responsibility for what may appear to be little more than a campaign to denigrate? To answer these questions, this paper first offers an overview of the dilemmas involved, then identifies and analyses two major concerns—censorship and translation matters—and finally focuses on the case of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to test the assertion that books authored by non-Arabs, many of whom shroud themselves in the cloak of authority but, in reality, harbor a sharp dislike, if not outright hatred, of Arabs, dominate over works written by Arabs. The paper closes with a few recommendations that call on Arab thinkers to overcome existing academic as well as journalistic prejudices.