Saudi Arabian National Security Saudi Arabian National Security Saudi Arabian National Security Saudi Arabian National Security • Birth place of Islam and site of two of the holy cities of Islam • World’s largest oil producer • Under nominal Ottoman control 1517-1918 • Monarchy built upon alliance between family of Al-Saud & Muwahhidun (“Wahhabis”) • Three Saudi state-formation and state-building experiments: – 1st Saudi state 1745-1818 – 2nd Saudi state 1824-1891 – 3rd Saudi state 1902-Present • Will the third Saudi state survive external & domestic threats?? 1st Saudi State & State-formation 1745-1818 • Alliance between Muhammad ibn Sa`ud, Amir of Di`iriyyah and Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab; secular & religious authority brought together • Proselytism and expansion: 1765 Nejd conquered, 1790 all Arabian peninsula except Hedjaz, 1798 tried to attack Mesopotamia • Military overconfidence and barbaric behavior of muwahhidun • Egyptians under Muhammad Ali smash the 1st Saudi state in 1818 Lack of foreign support, alienation of neighbors, overconfidence in mil. capabilities 2nd Saudi State and State-formation: 1824-1891 • In 1824 Turki ibn Abdallah rallies tribes under Wahhabi banner and drives Egyptians out of Nejd. Est. of capital in Riyadh • Turki begins strategy of re-conquest of peninsula, carried on by son Faisal • Egyptians in peninsula in 1838: overthrow Faisal; vassal Saudi state under Khalid (1838-42) and Abdallah (1842-1843) • Faisal seizes control again (1842-1865): massive expansion and consolidation, confrontation w/ British, recognition of British mil. superiority • 2nd Saudi state weakened by severe internecine 1865-1889 conflicts and overthrown by rivals Al-Rashids another prominent Nedji tribe. Internal dissension = threat & collapse 3rd Saudi State & State-formation: 1902-1953 • Emir Abd- al Aziz (Ibn Saud) recaptures Riyadh: extends control over neighboring provinces: e.g. southern Nejd & Al-Qasim, Al-Hasa • Uses the Ikhwan Movement for consolidation of power • Annexation of Jamal Shammar, delimitation of borders w/ neighbors, conquest of Hedjaz & Asir • The Ikhwan Rebellions and their defeat at Sibilla,1929 • Oil Concessions and Consolidation of Power, 1934-1945 • Emergence of U.S.-Saudi Informal Alliance • Kingdom’s emerging role in regional politics Saudi National Security & Threat Perceptions, 1954-1973 • Internal: intra-dynastic squabbles, nationalists and radicals, Shi`is, army officers, progressive princes, vulnerability of oil infrastructure and oil export routes • External: Arab nationalism and radicalism, ArabIsraeli conflict, Egypt, Republicanism in Yemen, Marxist movements (Dhufar Rebellion), Soviet penetration of Middle East, Iraq, Imperial Iranian pretensions Saudi National Security and Threat Perceptions: 1974-Present Saudi National Security and Threat Perceptions: 1974-Present • Internal: Religious radicalism, Succession crisis (?), Shi`i mobilization, vulnerability of oil infrastructure, massive socioeconomic distress, demographics & youth bulge, foreign workers, jihadists • External: Iraq, Iran (Pahlavi & IRI), Israel, Yemen, unsettled Arab-Israeli conflict, proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, collapsing informal alliance w/ U.S. Beyond The Cairo Effect • • • • • • • • • • • A radical anti-Western regime in Saudi Arabia—which produces one of every four barrels of oil worldwide—clearly would endanger the world economy. Unless the regime rapidly and radically reforms itself, it will remain vulnerable to upheaval. The gap between aged rulers and youthful subjects grows dramatically as the information gap between rulers and ruled shrinks. The average age of the kingdom's trio of ruling princes is 83, yet 60% of Saudis are under 18 years of age. Thanks to satellite television, the Internet and social media, the young now are well aware of government corruption—and that 40% of Saudis live in poverty and nearly 70% can't afford a home. These Saudis are living Third World lives, suffering from poor education and unable to find jobs in a private sector where 90% of all employees are imported non-Saudis. Through new media the young compare their circumstances unfavorably with those in nearby Gulf sheikhdoms and the West. The combination of revolution in Cairo and government ineptitude in Jeddah produced widespread Saudi cynicism and anger on social media. The traditional sources of stability in Saudi Arabia have been the royal family and the Wahhabi religious establishment with which it is closely intertwined. These twin pillars were losing credibility and legitimacy even before events in Egypt. The royal family increasingly is seen by its subjects as profligate, corrupt and unable to deliver efficient government. The religious establishment, even as it enforces its uniquely austere brand of Islam, is increasingly seen as prostituting itself by using religion to support whatever the ruling family wants. As events in Cairo have played out, some worried younger princes have privately acknowledged the need to curb corruption, better serve citizens, and reform the dysfunctional government bureaucracy.