‘Short-Term Kings’

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Voice of America:

Simon Henderson, Baker Fellow and Director of the Gulf and Energy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, describes the Saudi monarchy as a series of “short-term kings.”

“The problem is that the kings have been becoming kings later in their lives and therefore they haven’t had the energy to properly serve,” Henderson said. “As a result, things do not get done as they might with a younger, more energetic leader — and it raises the likelihood of political unrest.”

Some in the West suggest that the obvious solution would be to pass the scepter on to the next generation – something the Kingdom has been reluctant to do for deeply entrenched reasons.

“The Saudi system confers seniority by age, and age is respected,” Henderson said. “And when you have got such a value system, it is very difficult to break out of the current way of doing things.”

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