10 problems Saudi Arabia must solve to stay atop

Published October 9th, 2016 - 16:12 GMT

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Saudi Arabia is a country accustomed to oil wealth and world influence. Thanks to the massive stores of crude oil tucked away beneath its surface, it’s enjoyed almost unconditional support from the United States government and placed itself in stranglehold-like position of power on the rest of the industrialized world. In 1973 the oil embargo rocked the economy of the United States, a stark reminder of what is possible when Saudi shuts off the arteries that keep the rest of the world going.

But 2016 is not 1973. Green energy is much more popular than it’s ever been, and the world’s superpowers are rapidly working towards being totally oil-independent. The Kingdom is surrounded on all sides by war and chaos - and though much of it is influenced by Saudi nationals or by Saudi funding, groups from Houthi rebels and Daesh to the Syrian Regime and Iran all criticize radical Wahabbi Islam and loathe the Kingdom’s regime.

So how does a state facing modernization, radicalization of its youth, and a less-oil dependent world endure through the next century? It’s a question that has the Saudi Royal Family scrambling to find an answer.

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To the dismay of the Kingdom, JASTA is now officially US law. This leaves Saudi Arabia vulnerable to countless lawsuits against its officials and constitutes an erosion to its state sovereignty and immunity. Where does the US-Saudi relationship go from here?
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Image 1 of 10:  1 / 10To the dismay of the Kingdom, JASTA is now officially US law. This leaves Saudi Arabia vulnerable to countless lawsuits against its officials and constitutes an erosion to its state sovereignty and immunity. Where does the US-Saudi relationship go from here?

(Source: Wikipedia )

Enlarge
Rockets launched by Houthi rebels regularly land on the Saudi side of the Kingdom’s southern border. Since the war began in 2014, Saudi has sank billions of dollars into a conflict with rebels in Yemen and destroyed much of the country. Even when the war ends, an unstable neighbor will be a persistent issue for Saudi Arabia.
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Image 2 of 10:  2 / 10Rockets launched by Houthi rebels regularly land on the Saudi side of the Kingdom’s southern border. Since the war began in 2014, Saudi has sank billions of dollars into a conflict with rebels in Yemen and destroyed much of the country. Even when the war ends, an unstable neighbor will be a persistent issue for Saudi Arabia.

(Source: AFP)

Enlarge
Aside from Yemen, Saudi Arabia is regularly mentioned in Daesh and al-Qaeda propaganda videos as being a corrupted infidel government. Though much of the radicalism in the region has roots traceable to the Kingdom, the newest generation is disillusioned - and fending off the radicals as an Islamic monarchy will be challenging.
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Image 3 of 10:  3 / 10Aside from Yemen, Saudi Arabia is regularly mentioned in Daesh and al-Qaeda propaganda videos as being a corrupted infidel government. Though much of the radicalism in the region has roots traceable to the Kingdom, the newest generation is disillusioned - and fending off the radicals as an Islamic monarchy will be challenging.

(Source: Screenshot )

Enlarge
Take for instance the recent terrorist attacks in the Kingdom. On July 4th Daesh terrorists targeted the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, killing 6. Similar attacks happened in the Kingdom’s eastern province as well as the coastal city of Jeddah - an unprecedented slew of attacks.
Reduce

Image 4 of 10:  4 / 10Take for instance the recent terrorist attacks in the Kingdom. On July 4th Daesh terrorists targeted the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, killing 6. Similar attacks happened in the Kingdom’s eastern province as well as the coastal city of Jeddah - an unprecedented slew of attacks.

(Source: Screenshot )

Enlarge
So how does a nation built on a version of Islam most find radical prevent the radicalization of its youth? How does a nation with a meagre workforce employ its females when they are forbidden from driving and under the guardianship of male relatives? Reforms are necessary to compete globally, but will they alienate the usual suspects?
Reduce

Image 5 of 10:  5 / 10So how does a nation built on a version of Islam most find radical prevent the radicalization of its youth? How does a nation with a meagre workforce employ its females when they are forbidden from driving and under the guardianship of male relatives? Reforms are necessary to compete globally, but will they alienate the usual suspects?

(Source: AFP)

Enlarge
Oil is - and will be for some time - the lifeblood that keeps the industrial world going. But initiatives by Europe, the US, and other regions to promote alternative energy could very well threaten Saudi’s energy stranglehold.
Reduce

Image 6 of 10:  6 / 10Oil is - and will be for some time - the lifeblood that keeps the industrial world going. But initiatives by Europe, the US, and other regions to promote alternative energy could very well threaten Saudi’s energy stranglehold.

(Source: wikimedia )

Enlarge
Perhaps the greatest worry of the Kingdom is that it’s crown jewel - its oil reserves - will be made obsolete. The US has made massive strides in harnessing its oil, and in 2014 it overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest producer of oil. An economic blow, but also a blow to Saudi’s influence in Washington.
Reduce

Image 7 of 10:  7 / 10Perhaps the greatest worry of the Kingdom is that it’s crown jewel - its oil reserves - will be made obsolete. The US has made massive strides in harnessing its oil, and in 2014 it overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest producer of oil. An economic blow, but also a blow to Saudi’s influence in Washington.

(Source: AFP)

Enlarge
Aside from the US, countries like Russia, Iraq, Canada, Iran, and others have recently flooded the market with a surplus of oil - leading to record low prices. Saudi has agreed to freeze production in the hopes that lower supply will mean higher prices, but now that the wells of the rest of the world are pumping will Saudi retain its status?
Reduce

Image 8 of 10:  8 / 10Aside from the US, countries like Russia, Iraq, Canada, Iran, and others have recently flooded the market with a surplus of oil - leading to record low prices. Saudi has agreed to freeze production in the hopes that lower supply will mean higher prices, but now that the wells of the rest of the world are pumping will Saudi retain its status?

(Source: Twitter )

Enlarge
The Kingdom has given itself 15 years to implement a diversification plan to be less oil-reliant in its economy. This includes a ‘Saudization’ of its workforce. When Saudi has largely remained dependent on foreign labor and women struggle to integrate into the workforce, achieving Saudi Vision 2030 goals will be challenging.
Reduce

Image 9 of 10:  9 / 10The Kingdom has given itself 15 years to implement a diversification plan to be less oil-reliant in its economy. This includes a ‘Saudization’ of its workforce. When Saudi has largely remained dependent on foreign labor and women struggle to integrate into the workforce, achieving Saudi Vision 2030 goals will be challenging.

(Source: Facebook )

Enlarge
Will there be trouble over who’s next in line to rule the Kingdom? As King Salman is ill - Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is eclipsing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef - what does that mean for the Saud family? Internal disputes in the royal family are an obstacle Saudi's future leader will have to overcome.
Reduce

Image 10 of 10:  10 / 10Will there be trouble over who’s next in line to rule the Kingdom? As King Salman is ill - Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is eclipsing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef - what does that mean for the Saud family? Internal disputes in the royal family are an obstacle Saudi's future leader will have to overcome.

(Source: AFP)

Enlarge

1

To the dismay of the Kingdom, JASTA is now officially US law. This leaves Saudi Arabia vulnerable to countless lawsuits against its officials and constitutes an erosion to its state sovereignty and immunity. Where does the US-Saudi relationship go from here?

Image 1 of 10To the dismay of the Kingdom, JASTA is now officially US law. This leaves Saudi Arabia vulnerable to countless lawsuits against its officials and constitutes an erosion to its state sovereignty and immunity. Where does the US-Saudi relationship go from here?

(Source: Wikipedia )

2

Rockets launched by Houthi rebels regularly land on the Saudi side of the Kingdom’s southern border. Since the war began in 2014, Saudi has sank billions of dollars into a conflict with rebels in Yemen and destroyed much of the country. Even when the war ends, an unstable neighbor will be a persistent issue for Saudi Arabia.

Image 2 of 10Rockets launched by Houthi rebels regularly land on the Saudi side of the Kingdom’s southern border. Since the war began in 2014, Saudi has sank billions of dollars into a conflict with rebels in Yemen and destroyed much of the country. Even when the war ends, an unstable neighbor will be a persistent issue for Saudi Arabia.

(Source: AFP)

3

Aside from Yemen, Saudi Arabia is regularly mentioned in Daesh and al-Qaeda propaganda videos as being a corrupted infidel government. Though much of the radicalism in the region has roots traceable to the Kingdom, the newest generation is disillusioned - and fending off the radicals as an Islamic monarchy will be challenging.

Image 3 of 10Aside from Yemen, Saudi Arabia is regularly mentioned in Daesh and al-Qaeda propaganda videos as being a corrupted infidel government. Though much of the radicalism in the region has roots traceable to the Kingdom, the newest generation is disillusioned - and fending off the radicals as an Islamic monarchy will be challenging.

(Source: Screenshot )

4

Take for instance the recent terrorist attacks in the Kingdom. On July 4th Daesh terrorists targeted the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, killing 6. Similar attacks happened in the Kingdom’s eastern province as well as the coastal city of Jeddah - an unprecedented slew of attacks.

Image 4 of 10Take for instance the recent terrorist attacks in the Kingdom. On July 4th Daesh terrorists targeted the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, killing 6. Similar attacks happened in the Kingdom’s eastern province as well as the coastal city of Jeddah - an unprecedented slew of attacks.

(Source: Screenshot )

5

So how does a nation built on a version of Islam most find radical prevent the radicalization of its youth? How does a nation with a meagre workforce employ its females when they are forbidden from driving and under the guardianship of male relatives? Reforms are necessary to compete globally, but will they alienate the usual suspects?

Image 5 of 10So how does a nation built on a version of Islam most find radical prevent the radicalization of its youth? How does a nation with a meagre workforce employ its females when they are forbidden from driving and under the guardianship of male relatives? Reforms are necessary to compete globally, but will they alienate the usual suspects?

(Source: AFP)

6

Oil is - and will be for some time - the lifeblood that keeps the industrial world going. But initiatives by Europe, the US, and other regions to promote alternative energy could very well threaten Saudi’s energy stranglehold.

Image 6 of 10Oil is - and will be for some time - the lifeblood that keeps the industrial world going. But initiatives by Europe, the US, and other regions to promote alternative energy could very well threaten Saudi’s energy stranglehold.

(Source: wikimedia )

7

Perhaps the greatest worry of the Kingdom is that it’s crown jewel - its oil reserves - will be made obsolete. The US has made massive strides in harnessing its oil, and in 2014 it overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest producer of oil. An economic blow, but also a blow to Saudi’s influence in Washington.

Image 7 of 10Perhaps the greatest worry of the Kingdom is that it’s crown jewel - its oil reserves - will be made obsolete. The US has made massive strides in harnessing its oil, and in 2014 it overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest producer of oil. An economic blow, but also a blow to Saudi’s influence in Washington.

(Source: AFP)

8

Aside from the US, countries like Russia, Iraq, Canada, Iran, and others have recently flooded the market with a surplus of oil - leading to record low prices. Saudi has agreed to freeze production in the hopes that lower supply will mean higher prices, but now that the wells of the rest of the world are pumping will Saudi retain its status?

Image 8 of 10Aside from the US, countries like Russia, Iraq, Canada, Iran, and others have recently flooded the market with a surplus of oil - leading to record low prices. Saudi has agreed to freeze production in the hopes that lower supply will mean higher prices, but now that the wells of the rest of the world are pumping will Saudi retain its status?

(Source: Twitter )

9

The Kingdom has given itself 15 years to implement a diversification plan to be less oil-reliant in its economy. This includes a ‘Saudization’ of its workforce. When Saudi has largely remained dependent on foreign labor and women struggle to integrate into the workforce, achieving Saudi Vision 2030 goals will be challenging.

Image 9 of 10The Kingdom has given itself 15 years to implement a diversification plan to be less oil-reliant in its economy. This includes a ‘Saudization’ of its workforce. When Saudi has largely remained dependent on foreign labor and women struggle to integrate into the workforce, achieving Saudi Vision 2030 goals will be challenging.

(Source: Facebook )

10

Will there be trouble over who’s next in line to rule the Kingdom? As King Salman is ill - Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is eclipsing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef - what does that mean for the Saud family? Internal disputes in the royal family are an obstacle Saudi's future leader will have to overcome.

Image 10 of 10Will there be trouble over who’s next in line to rule the Kingdom? As King Salman is ill - Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is eclipsing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef - what does that mean for the Saud family? Internal disputes in the royal family are an obstacle Saudi's future leader will have to overcome.

(Source: AFP)

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