No, Saudi Arabia is Not Headed for a Revolution

There has been some speculation about this recently and while just about anything is possible, there has been a fairly clear pattern in the revolutions of the Arab Spring.

The most vulnerable countries have been Westernized governments allied to the United States. The so-called dictators. The least vulnerable have been Islamic autocracies.

The rulers most likely to be overthrown were semi-secular governments in formerly stable countries who proved unwilling or unable to use their militaries to protect their rule. Those who were willing to shoot people in the street had less to worry about.

Gaddafi, who had shifted over to the American side of the board, was beating the insurgency until Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy came to the rescue of the Islamist rebels. Assad has still managed to hold out and may yet survive if the gang of three, with a new player in France, don’t come through.

Saudi Arabia has very little to worry about because its enormous oil wealth allows it to bribe sizable chunks of its own population and foreign leaders. That was something that Gaddafi was never good at, wasting money on various eccentric causes. The Saudis fund terror, but they fund American political leaders. They fund think tanks and university chairs, not soap factories for Farrakhan. Saif Gaddafi, the son of the madman, understood this and was beginning to cultivate those relationships and the safety that came with them, but he didn’t get far enough up the ladder.

While Gaddafi lost because of Western intervention, Saudi Arabia was given a free hand in putting down Iranian backed protests in Bahrain, with only a few words of criticism. There’s little doubt that Obama Inc. would give the Saudi monarchy even more leeway if it had to put down a domestic insurgency.

Then there’s the question of trajectory. No one on the Western side is likely to back a Shiite uprising and they don’t even have the numbers. The Muslim Brotherhood would love Saudi Arabia, but it doesn’t have the support to try something like that. Even its efforts in the UAE have gotten its tail nicked. Furthermore the Brotherhood’s Arab Spring was a Qatari project. And Qatar’s rulers aren’t about to push into Saudi Arabia. If the Brotherhood won, then Qatar would be next. If it lost, then the Saudis would find a way to make their Emir pay.

That just leaves Al Qaeda. A Salafist takeover of the Kingdom isn’t impossible, but it’s doubtful that the support is there. Twenty years from now when the oil revenues have dropped and the poverty level has grown and there are a lot more Islamist countries in the region, then Saudi Arabia might become a sitting duck, but even though it would have all that American firepower on its side.

Furthermore one of the reasons that the Saudis fund terrorism is to be able to control it enough to keep it away. That hasn’t always worked, but it’s worked pretty well considering the general lack of a serious domestic threat considering the sizable number of Saudi nationals involved in terrorism.

Saudi Arabia is still the petrofortress. It has bought more than enough influence to be protected and as long as its oil and money holds out, the House of Saud isn’t going anywhere.

  • Abdullah

    What a load of rubbish. Petro wealth cannot protect the Al-Saud family from the huge social and political problems facing the country. In these extremely difficult times even a bribe is unlikely to calm a growing and restless population. The tide against the House of Said has already started and has grown since the Arab Spring started.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Saudi Arabia managed to suppress an uprising in Bahrain. Think the House of Saud can't do the same at home, especially with a connected officer corps?

    • Mary Sue

      Saudi Arabia is rolling in so much money, their religious police can do the job and do it far too well. There simply isn't enough dissent in the entire country to counter them. And spreading the money around to the citizenry to keep them quiet and happy-ish (and neither do they care if the women are happy, just the husbands, because we all know the husbands are allowed to beat their rebelllious wives into submission) is remarkably effective if they give them enough.

      So therefore, in order for there to be an Arab Spring in Saudi Arabia, the Land of Mohammed, there would have to be such a falling away from Islam Itself (or at least the stringent wahhabi version practiced by the House of Saud) that they'd overwhelm the religious police and the royalty and boot them out. I suppose that's possible, but I don't see it happening for a very, very long time. I don't see the Al Quaeda's doing it because that's their golden egg along with Qatar.

    • Drakken

      The Saudi's aren't afraid to use real force and shoot massive amounts of their own to hold their power, please by all means abdullah give it your best shot, I don't mind seeing 1,000's of you savages littering the street, I'll get the Bourbon and put it on ice to watch that.

  • Khalil Orabi

    Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain & Yemen are 4 genuine uprising waves… No one backed no body… Libian & Syrian cases are merely planned by the foreign powers…. Do you recall how some countries changed position after military interference in Libya??? Ghadafi was mad & deserved a public trial, but media was creating false stories to justify the immediate assassination….

    • Mary Sue

      Egypt was 100% Muslim Brotherhood, and that was not a good thing. Same with Tunisia. Haven't heard when it comes to yemen and bahrain.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Egypt and Syria was backed by the very same people on behalf of the very same people.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "There’s little doubt that Obama Inc. would give the Saudi monarchy even more leeway if it had to put down a domestic insurgency."

    "Saudi Arabia is a kind of democracy relative to their culture." According to any politician in the West cornered in to commenting about it. That was before 0'Bama came along. We know how he feels.

    Saudi Arabia is more secure than America under the 0'Bama regime.