FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Saudi Arabia and the Challenges Ahead

by

Since the 2003 Iraq war and especially the wake of the Arab spring ,Saudi Arabia is going through an identity crisis. There is growing unrest among many youth who no longer tolerate living in servitude and oppression. They want and need more freedom, and civil rights.

With the eruption of the Arab spring the government spent $ 130 billion dollars to silence the opposition. Any political opposition is quelled by force, and punishments for crimes such as blasphemy, sorcery and apostasy are gruesome and carried out publicly. In 2015 alone, 157 people were beheaded, and more than 90 have been executed thus far in 2016.

With estimated oil reserves of 270 billion barrels, the fall of oil prices has had an unprecedented effect on the Saudi economy. The oil crisis has inflicted major economic disruption, forced the government to cut subsidies and curtail many development projects and reduced its international stature and ability to exert influence over the Arab states.

There is massive inequality between the various classes. Nearly one fifth of the population lives in poverty, especially in the predominantly Shiite South where ironically much of the oil reserves are located. While the poor are getting poorer, thousands of princes and princess live lavishly mostly in Europe spending hundreds of millions of dollars and occupying villas which further drains economic resources.

The relationship between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran has always been characterized by tension and mistrust. The quiet enmity came to the fore in the wake of the 2003 Iraq war and the growing influence of Tehran over the Shiite Iraqi government.

This was further aggravated with the eruption of the civil war in Syria, where Iran supported the Assad Regime with money, military equipment, training and subsequently foot soldiers while the Saudis provided similar aid to the rebels opposed to Assad and radical Sunni forces fighting Assad.

The enmity between the two countries took another turn for the worse when it was suspected that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapons program, which Riyadh viewed as a direct threat to its national security.

The execution of Saudi Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al Nimr an icon who called for addressing human rights violations in Saudi Arabia was charged with incitement and treason and sentenced to death with 46 others further deepened the animosity between the countries. Although Saudi Arabia and the United States have enjoyed decades of close bilateral relations, the relationship has soured over the geostrategic and geopolitical interests of the US in the Middle East,its deal with Iran .

Saudi Arabia must face these challenges head on and avoid what might become an albatross that would choke off its potential to be a significant player in and outside the region.

More articles by:

Dr. Fariborz Saremi is an Iranian strategic analyst based in Hamburg/Germany.Dr.Saremi is a regular contributor for World Tribun.com,Freepressers.com and Defense & Foreign Affairs. At times he has been a commentator for the German TV, ARD/NDR.

Weekend Edition
February 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Richard D. Wolff
Capitalism as Obstacle to Equality and Democracy: the US Story
Paul Street
Where’s the Beef Stroganoff? Eight Sacrilegious Reflections on Russiagate
Jeffrey St. Clair
They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted
Andrew Levine
Their Meddlers and Ours
Charles Pierson
Nuclear Nonproliferation, American Style
Joseph Essertier
Why Japan’s Ultranationalists Hate the Olympic Truce
W. T. Whitney
US and Allies Look to Military Intervention in Venezuela
John Laforge
Maybe All Threats of Mass Destruction are “Mentally Deranged”
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: an American Reckoning
David Rosen
For Some Reason, Being White Still Matters
Robert Fantina
Nikki Haley: the U.S. Embarrassment at the United Nations
Joyce Nelson
Why Mueller’s Indictments Are Hugely Important
Joshua Frank
Pearl Jam, Will You Help Stop Sen. Tester From Destroying Montana’s Public Lands?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Attack on Historical Perspective
Conn Hallinan
Immigration and the Italian Elections
George Ochenski
The Great Danger of Anthropocentricity
Pete Dolack
China Can’t Save Capitalism from Environmental Destruction
Joseph Natoli
Broken Lives
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Did Russia Vote For Trump?
Geoff Dutton
One Regime to Rule Them All
Torkil Lauesen – Gabriel Kuhn
Radical Theory and Academia: a Thorny Relationship
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Work of Persuasion
Thomas Klikauer
Umberto Eco and Germany’s New Fascism
George Burchett
La Folie Des Grandeurs
Howard Lisnoff
Minister of War
Eileen Appelbaum
Why Trump’s Plan Won’t Solve the Problems of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure
Ramzy Baroud
More Than a Fight over Couscous: Why the Palestinian Narrative Must Be Embraced
Jill Richardson
Mass Shootings Shouldn’t Be the Only Time We Talk About Mental Illness
Jessicah Pierre
Racism is Killing African American Mothers
Steve Horn
Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests
David Griscom
When ‘Fake News’ is Good For Business
Barton Kunstler
Brainwashed Nation
Griffin Bird
I’m an Eagle Scout and I Don’t Want Pipelines in My Wilderness
Edward Curtin
The Coming Wars to End All Wars
Missy Comley Beattie
Message To New Activists
Jonah Raskin
Literary Hubbub in Sonoma: Novel about Mrs. Jack London Roils the Faithful
Binoy Kampmark
Frontiersman of the Internet: John Perry Barlow
Chelli Stanley
The Mirrors of Palestine
James McEnteer
How Brexit Won World War Two
Ralph Nader
Absorbing the Irresistible Consumer Reports Magazine
Cesar Chelala
A Word I Shouldn’t Use
Louis Proyect
Marx at the Movies
Osha Neumann
A White Guy Watches “The Black Panther”
Stephen Cooper
Rebel Talk with Nattali Rize: the Interview
David Yearsley
Market Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail