The Kingdom of No Surprises
DOHA, Qatar — After two years of trying to steer the course of the Arab Spring, Saudi Arabia is turning inward. The past year has seen the octogenarian King Abdullah usher in a new generation of younger princes to replace rapidly aging and less competent members of the ruling house. Indeed, it’s not the ripple effects from the uprisings across the Middle East that occupy the minds of Saudi watchers these days, but the management of the transition from the sons to the grandsons of Ibn Saud, the kingdom’s founder.
Change is coming to Saudi Arabia — but however it plays out, expect some basic truths about the kingdom to remain the same. Saudi Arabia will remain a strong Western ally, it will keep the oil flowing, and — perhaps most importantly — it will remain immune from the uprisings that have spread across the Arab world. While former CIA analyst Bruce Riedelmade the case that “revolution in Saudi Arabia is no longer unthinkable,” the truth of the matter is that for the vast majority of Saudis, a revolt is still an almost unfathomable event. And the House of Saud’s approach to succession is designed to keep it that way.Full story Foreign Policy