Vision or Mirage: Saudi Arabia at the Crossroads

Vision or Mirage: Saudi Arabia at the Crossroads

by David Rundell


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'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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781838605933
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 09/17/2020
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 25,520
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

David Rundell studied Arabic at Oxford and served as an American diplomat for thirty years in Washington, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. Over those three decades he spent fifteen years in the kingdom working at the Embassy in Riyadh as well as the Consulates in Jeddah and Dhahran. His assignments in Saudi Arabia included the Chief of Mission, Charge d'Affaires, Deputy Chief of Mission, Political Counselor, Economic Counselor, Commercial Counselor and Commercial Attaché. He has won numerous awards for his analytical reporting, and participated in Operation Desert Storm, Saudi accession to the World Trade Organization and the defeat of the al-Qaeda terror campaign in Saudi Arabia.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: The House of Saud
Chapter 2: The Wars of Unification
Chapter 3: The Ikhwan Revolt

Chapter 4: Kings Saud and Faisal
Chapter 5: Kings Khalid, Fahd, and Abdullah
Chapter 6: King Salman and MBS

Chapter 7: The Tribes
Chapter 8: The Clergy
Chapter 9: The Merchants
Chapter 10: The Technocrats
Chapter 11: The Royal Family

Chapter 12: Providing Internal Security
Chapter 13: Promoting Rapid Economic Development
Chapter 14: Foreign Policy: Keeping Powerful Friends
Chapter 15: Foreign Policy: Deploying Oil and Islam
Chapter 16:Promoting Gradual Social Change

Chapter 17: Economic Challenges: Oil Prices, Diversification and Jobs
Chapter 18: Security Challenges: Deploying Oil, Allies and Islam
Chapter 19: Political Challenges: Pluralism, Corruption, and Participation
Chapter 20: Evolving Arabia

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