Saudi Arabia: Strengthening the Power Vertical in the Context of the Collapse of the Old World-System

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: President Emeritus of IAS RAS
Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (IAS RAS)
Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)
Address: Moscow, 30/1, Spiridonovka Str., Moscow, 123001, Russian Federation
Journal nameAsia and Africa Today
EditionIssue 5

The implementation of reforms in Saudi Arabia met with both support and resistance. A significant part of the youth, pro-government “liberals”, and those elites that rejected the former feudal pyramid system stood in favor of the reforms. Among the opponents were jihadist extremists, some of the members of the “dominant tribe” of the House of Saud, who were losing their power and income associated with the previous system of corruption, some part of the Wahhabi corporation, religious police, theologians, some part of the business that flourished due to state subsidies and the absence of taxes and control over expenditures and incomes. Among the opponents were also conservatives from the middle and lower strata, dissatisfied with the granting of greater rights to women.

The regime’s international image was spoiled by the assassination of opposition leader Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

However, the firm course of the kingdom aimed at protecting, above all, the national interests of the country and the refusal to obey the dictates of the United States in matters of oil prices was highlighted by a demonstrative rapprochement with China and neutrality in the confrontation between Russia and the collective West. Saudi Arabia looked for and found its place in the changing world-system.

KeywordsSaudi Arabia, King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, ruling elite of Saudi Arabia, arrests, Saudi-American relations, Khashoggi, Saudi-Chinese relations
Publication date19.06.2023
Number of characters42983
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