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Saudi Arabia in the Balance: Political Economy, Society, Foreign Affairs

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Overview

Saudi Arabia in the Balance brings together today’s leading scholars in the field to investigate the domestic, regional, and international affairs of a Kingdom whose policies have so far eluded the outside world. With the passing of King Fahd and the installation of King Abdullah, a contemporary understanding of Saudi Arabia is essential as the Kingdom enters a new era of leadership and particularly when many Saudis themselves are increasingly debating, and actively shaping, the future direction of domestic and foreign affairs.

Each of the essays, framed in the aftermath of 9/11 and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, offers a systematic perspective into the country’s political and economic realities as well as the tension between its regional and global roles. Important topics covered include U.S. and Saudi relations; Saudi oil policy; the Islamist threat to the monarchy regime; educational opportunities; the domestic rise of liberal opposition; economic reform; the role of the royal family; and the country's foreign relations in a changing international world.

Contributors: Paul Aarts, Madawi Al-Rasheed, Rachel Bronson, Iris Glosemeyer, Steffen Hertog, Yossi Kostiner, Stéphane Lacroix, Giacomo Luciani, Monica Malik, Roel Meijer, Tim Niblock, Gerd Nonneman, Michaela Prokop, Abdulaziz Sager, Guido Steinberg

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Saudi Arabia is a major factor in developments in the Middle East and in the War on Terror. These books provide a thorough analysis of the country and of America's relationship with it. In the Balance is a collection of essays from an early 2004 conference in the Netherlands. Editors Aarts (international relations, Univ. of Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and Nonneman (international relations & Middle East politics, Univ. of Lancaster; Analyzing Middle East Foreign Policies: The Relationship with Europe) have organized the essays to complement one another in tone and content and to highlight both empirical and theoretical approaches to four main topics: ideology and change, political economy, regime and opposition politics, and external relations. Bronson (Middle East studies, Council on Foreign Relations) focuses on foreign policy, particularly the long and strong ties between Saudi Arabia and the United States. She argues that American leaders need to do more careful analysis to define common interests and work toward mutually beneficial goals. Like Aarts and Nonneman, Bronson points out the need for gradual reform in Saudi Arabia to prevent the collapse of the current regime. Both of these scholarly and balanced books address topics of vital interest and are useful for readers seeking to understand the complexities of Saudi society and U.S. interests. In the Balance is more academic and denser in tone than Thicker Than Oil, which is more accessible but equally well founded on extensive research and strong judgment on American policy and the relevant literature. Both are recommended for libraries with serious specialized and lay readers.-Elizabeth Hayford, Associated Colls. of the Midwest, Chicago Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

“A thorough analysis of the country and of America's relationship with it. . . . Useful for readers seeking to understand the complexities of Saudi society and U.S. interests.”
-Library Journal

,

“Many illuminating essays.”
-The Economist

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“A welcome and breathtaking burst of new knowledge. There is no volume today that contains so much useful material.”
-Joshua Teitelbaum,author of The Rise and Fall of the Hashemite Kingdom of Arabia

“Aarts and Nonneman have organized the essays to complement one another in tone and content and to highlight both empirical and theoretical approaches.”
-Library Journal

,

“Serves best as a source of information and some insight into the tactical questions facing the Saudi and U.S. ruling classes.”
-International Socialist Review

,

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814707173
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 1.19 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Aarts is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the Department of Political Science, University of Amsterdam.

Gerd Nonneman is Reader in International Relations and Middle East Politics, University of Lancaster, and a former Executive

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
The Wahhabi Ulama and the Saudi state : 1745 to the present 11
Islamo-liberal politics in Saudi Arabia 35
The war of ideas : education in Saudi Arabia 57
Saudi Arabia's economy : the challenge of reform 85
Segmented clientelism : the political economy of Saudi economic reform efforts 111
From private sector to national bourgeoisie : Saudi Arabian business 144
Circles of power : royals and society in Saudi Arabia 185
Checks, balances and transformation in the Saudi political system 214
Political opposition in Saudi Arabia 234
The 'cycle of contention' and the limits of terrorism in Saudi Arabia 271
Determinants and patterns of Saudi foreign policy : 'ombibalancing' and 'relative autonomy' in multiple environments 315
Coping with regional challenges : a case study of crown prince Abdullah's peace initiative 352
Understanding US-Saudi relations 372
Events versus trends : the role of energy and security in sustaining the US-Saudi relationship 399
A triple nexus : ideology, economy, foreign policy and the outlook for the Saudi polity 433
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