Saudi Arabia in the New Middle East

Dec. 12, 2011, 9:52 p.m.

The Council on Foreign Relations published a new report analyzing the changing political landscape in the Middle East and what it means for Saudi Arabia's place in the region. The report then examines how the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia has been affected by recent changes.

In this Council Special Report, sponsored by the Center for Preventive Action, F. Gregory Gause III first explores the foundations of Riyadh's present stability and potential sources of future unrest. It is difficult not to notice that Saudi Arabia avoided significant upheaval during the political uprisings that swept the Middle East in 2011, despite sharing many of the social and economic problems of Egypt, Yemen, and Libya. But unlike their counterparts in Cairo, Sanaa, and Tripoli, Riyadh's leadership was able to maintain order in large part by increasing public spending on housing and salaries, relying on loyal and well-equipped security forces, and utilizing its extensive patronage networks. The divisions within the political opposition also helped the government's cause.

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