The Paradoxical Kingdom: Saudi Arabia and the Momentum of Reform by Daryl Champion, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Paradoxical Kingdom: Saudi Arabia and the Momentum of Reform

The Paradoxical Kingdom: Saudi Arabia and the Momentum of Reform

by Daryl Champion
     
 

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The major player in the OPEC international oil industry cartel, Saudi Arabia is the land of the Prophet Muhammad and the site of the most sacred Islamic shrines in and around the cities of Mecca and Medina. As recent events have shown, what happens in Saudi Arabia has vital consequences not only for its smaller Arabian Gulf neighbors and for the Middle East generally,

Overview

The major player in the OPEC international oil industry cartel, Saudi Arabia is the land of the Prophet Muhammad and the site of the most sacred Islamic shrines in and around the cities of Mecca and Medina. As recent events have shown, what happens in Saudi Arabia has vital consequences not only for its smaller Arabian Gulf neighbors and for the Middle East generally, but also for the West and the global economy.

Daryl Champion, a specialist in Saudi Arabian affairs, offers a view of the kingdom that is usually inaccessible to Westerners. To the non-Saudi, the kingdom appears calm and stable, certainly by the standards of the Middle East. But, as Champion shows, opposition movements in the kingdom have both a history and a social context, and challenge the House of Saud. The devastating 1996 Khobar bombing and the emergence of the Saudi exile, Osama bin Laden, testify to a volatile underground of discontent.

Moreover, since the crash in oil prices of 1986, unstable petroleum markets have wreaked havoc on Saudi finances. Pressure is building for restructuring, but the reforms required by the global economy often conflict with the vested interests of the kingdom´s elites and with the demands of the domestic population, which has deep religio-cultural roots and proud traditions. The Paradoxical Kingdom shows how religion, tradition, society, economics, politics, and the state interact with each other in Saudi Arabia as the nation lurches into the twenty-first century. The book shows how wealth has been squandered, examines the Arabian equivalent of Asia´s infamous 'crony capitalism,´ and considers the durability of the Al Saud dynasty.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Since its founding in the early 20th century, Saudi Arabia has been of key strategic and economic importance to the West. The al-Saud dynasty, which has governed the kingdom since its establishment, has developed an understanding with the United States: In return for an affordable and regular supply of oil, Washington would guarantee the security and survival of the Saud dynasty. This informal arrangement has worked remarkably well for both sides. However, events since September 11, 2001, have challenged some of the assumptions of the U.S.-Saudi relationship and have catapulted the kingdom to the center of the emerging foreign policy debate in Washington. In this detailed, informative, and well-researched study, Champion, a specialist in Saudi affairs and a former scholar at the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University, focuses on the challenges Saudi Arabia faces both at home and abroad and the sociopolitical and economic factors that may undermine its stability in the 21st century. This evenhanded account is recommended for academic and large public libraries.-Nader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll., Mobile, AL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Washington Times
Deserves a round of applause.

— Arnold Beichman

Choice

Champion offers an excellent review of Saudi history... Highly recommended [for] graduate, faculty, and professional collections.

Middle East Policy
Saudi stability is the subject of Daryl Champion's book The Paradoxical Kingdom. Champion starts from the premise that Saudi Arabia remains of critical economic and strategic importance to the West.... He has done a good job of synthesizing the workd of other observers of the Saudi scene and weighing the merits of their research.... His conclusions are balanced and avoid the alarmist tone of so much other recent writing about the kingdom.

— Brooks Wrampelmeier

Middle East Journal
The overall scope of the book and the author's keen insights help dispel much of the misinformation and misperceptions that seem to cloud outsiders' views of this important but essentially closed society.

— David E. Long

International Affairs
This book is for both the specialist and the non-specialist alike, since it presents a comprehensive analysis of the Kingdom... [A]ccompanied by interviews with a range of Saudi personalities including some related to the regime... this is a serious study that is worth attention, whether one is approaching the complexities of the Saudi regime for the first time or wishes to examine more closely the predicaments currently faced by the Kingdom.

— Alejandra Galindo Marines

Arab Studies Journal
His style is meticulous and he is... adept at interweaving and overlapping an enormous amount of material.

— Peter C. Valenti

Washington Times - Arnold Beichman
Deserves a round of applause.

Middle East Policy - Brooks Wrampelmeier
Saudi stability is the subject of Daryl Champion's bookThe Paradoxical Kingdom. Champion starts from the premise that Saudi Arabia remains of critical economic and strategic importance to the West.... He has done a good job of synthesizing the workd of other observers of the Saudi scene and weighing the merits of their research.... His conclusions are balanced and avoid the alarmist tone of so much other recent writing about the kingdom.

Middle East Journal - David E. Long
The overall scope of the book and the author's keen insights help dispel much of the misinformation and misperceptions that seem to cloud outsiders' views of this important but essentially closed society.

International Affairs - Alejandra Galindo Marines
This book is for both the specialist and the non-specialist alike, since it presents a comprehensive analysis of the Kingdom... [A]ccompanied by interviews with a range of Saudi personalities including some related to the regime... this is a serious study that is worth attention, whether one is approaching the complexities of the Saudi regime for the first time or wishes to examine more closely the predicaments currently faced by the Kingdom.

Arab Studies Journal - Peter C. Valenti
His style is meticulous and he is... adept at interweaving and overlapping an enormous amount of material.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781850656470
Publisher:
Indiana University Press
Publication date:
01/01/2003
Pages:
380

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Meet the Author

Daryl Champion has been studying Middle Eastern history, society, and politics for almost two decades. He holds a Ph.D in political science and international relations from The Australian National University (ANU) and is a former research scholar at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the ANU.

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