Saudi Arabia’s new politics: Motives, risks, and the rule of law

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This article is featured in the ORIENT II 2018

Saudi Arabia’s ‘anti-corruption drive’, which began in earnest in November 2017, is a seismic event in the kingdom’s history. Drawing on a range of interviews, local media, and other sources, this article suggests it has been predicated on multiple, inter-connected motives, and that it will have serious ramifications for Saudi Arabia’s political stability and its capacity to successfully reshape its struggling economy. Most obviously, it will contribute directly to either the success or failure of the new crown prince’s efforts to offset the impact of urgent austerity measures while simultaneously trying to forge a new and more populist relationship with the broader citizenry.

Christopher M. Davidson is a reader in Middle East Politics at Durham University in the United Kingdom. He is also a visiting fellow at leiden University College in the Netherlands and an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, london. His work focuses on the comparative politics of the Middle East, and especially the Gulf states.

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