Vision or Mirage: Saudi Arabia at the Crossroads

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In April 2016, Saudi Arabia announced its Vision 2030, which is its strategic roadmap to reducing its dependence on oil, diversifying its economy, and strengthening its public services. The development was seen as a disruption, but this book seems to suggest that reform is necessary if Saudi Arabia is to retain its influence as a regional power and to be a viable voice in the world.

Most of the book covers Saudi history, beginning in the mid-eighteenth century. The last forty pages are devoted to contemporary issues, especially the challenges Saudi society faces as it embarks on its Vision 2030. The narrative outlines how the House of Saud rose and fell (several times) until Ibn Saud, through the use of piety, pragmatism, raids, compassion, charisma, and diplomacy, united most of Arabia into a single nation. Some of the tactics used then still haunt the House of Saud today.

Unfortunately, the book does not address the cooling of relations between Saudi Arabia and the USA following the 9/11 attacks (even though Iran, a common adversary, has grown more menacing). Nor does it address Saudi Arabia’s alleged human rights violations (especially in relation to Khashoggi’s assassination). Furthermore, the narrative does not outline possible future trajectories. In the end, it is more a history of Saudi Arabia than an analysis of possible future scenarios.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 256 pages
Publisher I.B.Tauris
Publish Date 2020-09-17
ISBN 9781838605933 Buy this Book
Issue October 2020
Category Current Events & Politics


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