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.