Saudi Arabia: Fault Lines and the Future of the Kingdom
A single interest guides Saudi policies: the survival of the House of Saud. That survival has been based on balancing competing forces within an increasingly dysfunctional kingdom--unemployed men, frustrated women, angry youth, the forgotten poor, inadequate education, an immobile economy based on declining oil reserves, succession to a third generation of princes, and most dangerous of all, the stifling power of Wahhabi clerics in the Kingdom and the free hand they have been given to promote radicalism abroad. The most extreme have come home as domestic terrorists threatening the regime.
The balancing act at home is increasingly precarious just as the Saudis face the unpredictable end-state of political transitions in the Arab World, the rise of Iranian power, and frequent conflicts of interest with the United States, their major protector. Will these collective forces bring reforms, greater fragility, or even the fall of the House of Saud?
Few are more qualified to address these issues than Karen Elliott House. Her recent book, On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines, and the Future, is a major contribution to our understanding of Saudi Arabia. Ms. House received the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for her reporting on the Middle East, and the National Press Club Award for Excellence in Diplomatic Reporting for a series on Saudi Arabia. She joined the Wall Street Journal in 1974 and served as foreign editor before becoming senior vice president of Dow Jones and Company and publisher of the Journal. Prior to serving as publisher she was president of Dow Jones' international group. Ms. House has taught at Harvard's Kennedy School, and has served on numerous non-profit boards including the RAND Corporation. A native of Matador, Texas, she currently resides in Princeton, New Jersey, with her husband and four children.
Date: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Location: Arizona Inn, 2200 E. Elm Street
Next Meeting – May 8
Dr. Lawrence Husick to speak on "The Challenges and Threats of Cyber Warfare"
(Skyline Country Club Dinner)