Failure of Arab Spring in Saudi Arabia: Grounds and Reasons

The wave of protests in the Arab World known as the Arab Spring has led to different political results. While rulers in Egypt, Yemen and Tunisia fell quickly and the Libyan government collapsed after a few months, governments have shown significant resilience in Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria. These developments have encircled Saudi Arabia in different angles about which it has always been wary. The effects of the fall of allies, weakening of the country’s regional status, and challenges to its legitimacy led the government to fight the upheavals in two fronts: First inside Saudi Arabia and second in its neighborhood specifically in Yemen and Bahrain. The main question this writing seeks to answer is why the protests in Saudi Arabia failed to overthrow the rulers as they did in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen. The hypothesis addresses two categories including domestic factors like the power structure and political culture and foreign factors such as the role of the West and its interests in the region. Hence, the importance of oil and Saudi role in OPEC as well as lack of foreign and regional support for street protests in Saudi Arabia in contrast to the other Middle Eastern countries are examined. In order to test the main hypothesis, Goldstone’s theory on the success or failure of certain movements and revolutions is applied.
Middle East Studies Quarterly, Volume:20 Issue: 3, 2014
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