With the disappearance and apparent death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi leading the news this week, Saudi Arabia has been in the hot seat.
Here are five recent books that are essential for understanding the Saudis, one of the wealthiest and most mysterious nations on the globe:
(Where possible, we have also tried to include an interview or shorter piece by the author that introduces the book’s central ideas…)
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[easyazon_link identifier=”1597976881″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Saudi Arabia on the Edge: The Uncertain Future of an American Ally [/easyazon_link]
*** READ a new piece by Lippman on US-Saudi
Of all the countries in the world that are vital to the strategic and economic interests of the United States, Saudi Arabia is the least understood by the American people. Saudi Arabia’s unique place in Islam makes it indispensable to a constructive relationship between the non-Muslim West and the Muslim world. For all its wealth, the country faces daunting challenges that it lacks the tools to meet: a restless and young population, a new generation of educated women demanding opportunities in a closed society, political stagnation under an octogenarian leadership, religious extremism and intellectual backwardness, social division, chronic unemployment, shortages of food and water, and troublesome neighbors.
Today’s Saudi people, far better informed than all previous generations, are looking for new political institutions that will enable them to be heard, but these aspirations conflict with the kingdom’s strict traditions and with the House of Saud’s determination to retain all true power. Meanwhile, the country wishes to remain under the protection of American security but still clings to a system that is antithetical to American values.