Understanding Global Issues

Briefings and books about the big issues of our time

Saudi Arabia: Desert Kingdom in Transition

In three generations Saudi Arabia has evolved from a largely nomadic, tribal society into a modern high-tech nation with influence in the wider world, largely thanks to oil, of which it possesses a quarter of the planet's known reserves.

This transformation has been achieved without a revolution or even serious violence, and even with the acquiescence of the majority of the people. But now the country faces new challenges, as an ageing leadership faces a young population, and its longstanding special relationship with the US comes up against American support for Israel in the equally longlasting Middle East crisis.

Saudi Arabia sees itself as the model for an alternative society to the materialistic and corrupt West, with which it must nevertheless increasingly do business. This briefing looks at the opportunities and tensions facing the Saudis at home and abroad as they take their place in the wider world community.

Published: December 2000 ISBN: 0850487323

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