‘No Interest in Sharing Power’

Bruce Riedel says the US should be ready for the possibility of a revolution in Saudi Arabia:

Despite the stakes, the options are as unappealing as those President Carter faced in dealing with the end of the Pahlavi monarchy in Iran. And unlike the Shah who tried half-hearted reforms, the Saudi royal family has shown no interest in sharing power or in an elected legislature.

The United States has no serious options for effecting gradual reform in the Kingdom. The King fears, probably rightly, that power sharing is impossible in an absolutist state. In Bahrain, the Saudis showed clearly their view that opening the door to political pluralism will doom a monarchy.