The Possibility That Bahrain May Break Saudi Arabia


Brendan -- You mistyped "doctors". It's a thoughtful post, though. One can only hope.
If the House of Saud loses power than every single non-democratic government on Earth will be fair game--no bullshit in saying that, either. If they go, Iran is next. If Iran goes, North Korea follows, and if they go, China is done. Scales of years, but...
I don't understand why the people in the Middle East are so ungrateful. Don't they realize that the small sacrifices they are asked to endure do so much to support the lifestyle of us here in the heart of democracy?
@ 1. Thanks. Fixed.
The Saudi military is our military. They spend ungodly amounts of the money we give them for oil on our weaponry. We just made another deal for $60 billion in arms to them. They have one of the biggest militaries in the world. Of course, all those jet fighters and whatnot aren't of much use against a square full of protesters, but in terms of force, the Saudis got it all, and there's no reason to think they won't use it.

The good news is, a public massacre looks very different to the rest of the world today than it did a few years ago before anyone was watching. This is a huge earthquake in the Middle East power structure. As usual, the US is finding itself on the wrong side. Ouch. Saudi Arabia is in many ways the US's closest, most uncritical friend in the world.

I'm thinking gas at $6 a gallon this summer?
The Saudis are finished. Good riddance.
"Meanwhile, at least one Saudi prince has called for reform. (Admittedly, he's a family outsider and career reformist—but somebody's got to be the first one in the pool.)"

For some silly reason, this brings Franz Ferdinand to mind.
@7, the Saudis are most definitely not finished, whatever happens in Bahrain.
@ 7 & 9. Just for the record, I'm not arguing that the Bahrain situation will topple the Saudis. I'm just saying that it exposes a Saudi flank in an unprecedented way. (And that the Saudis could have played it much smarter by staying out of it.) But what will happen? Nobody knows.
Saudi Arabia is a tough nut to crack, mainly because there is no middle class. It's medieval; the royal family at the top and a teeming class of foreign workers at the bottom. No a situation conducive to revolution. China goes first.

Then again no one saw any of this coming, so who the hell knows how it will pan out.
This story shocks me. Saudi Arabia has an army? Did they go out and hire a bunch of Palestinians or Indians?
@12, Saudi Arabia has one of the ten largest armies in the world, and they might be in the top five soon. They budget $25 billion a year for it. They are a massive military power, and they work very closely with Uncle Sam in every regard.

@11, Saudi does have a significant and growing middle class. That's part of the problem; there's nothing for them to do. They've invested their oil trillions heavily into social programs like education -- every citizen can have as much as they want -- which leads to a country full of engineering PhDs who drive cabs, because there are no jobs for them. Jobs are for slaves, er, Bangladeshis.

Their frustration and idleness leads them to extremism and Al Qaeda. Bin Laden's hates the Sauds more than he hates the US. And look at the 9/11 bombers, most of whom were educated Saudis.

But because they have so many of their material needs taken care of, and because they have fully imbibed in the Wahhabi faith that keeps them in line, their incentive to band together in revolt is very low.
@13 And if the country becomes ungovernable there could well be a U.S. supported military coup. And that would lead to the end of the Saudi rule. And eventually to a quasi democracy.
As usual per #11, Fnarf is correct.
Damn you and your facts Fnarf!

I stand corrected.
I'd like to see the US Navy move its base out of Bahrain as a protest- but who am I kidding?