Cover Story Overview

Saudi Arabia Moves to Maintain Regime Stability

Saudi Arabia has not come through the recent unrest sweeping the Middle East unchanged. The kingdom has yet to see the kind of popular uprisings that brought down regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and that are threatening autocrats in Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain. Yet leaders in Riyadh are deeply concerned about regional political developments and what it might mean for stability at home. With the world’s largest crude oil reserves, developments in Saudi Arabia that threaten oil output could adversely affect the global economic recovery. This article reviews the calls for reform in Saudi Arabia, assesses the regime’s response, and identifies the special circumstances in the Shi`a-populated Eastern Province.

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