Will Saudi Arabia Ever Change?

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Hugh Eakin reviews three recent books on Saudi Arabia:

Indeed there are few signs that the Saudi monarchy is even contemplating serious reforms. During a recent visit to several parts of the country, I spoke to academics, journalists, members of the Shia minority, and young bloggers, as well as clerics and government officials, and many were outspoken in criticizing the government; one journalist who had worked for official media told me, within minutes of our acquaintance, “I can’t wait for this regime to collapse!” But almost without exception, no one seemed to think that would happen anytime soon. I asked one prominent women’s rights activist why more Saudis weren’t agitating for a full written constitution—a moderate reform that could provide a more rigorous legal frame for continued Al Saud rule and that was discussed publicly during a brief opening after the September 11 attacks. She replied: “No one’s talking about it anymore. All the constitutional monarchists have been jailed.”

(via Christopher Davidson)

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