Despite speculation about Saudi interests and loyalties that have been directed at the country since 9/11, Arabia remains the key US ally in the Arab Middle East. Menoret debunks the facile notions about Saudi society, and focuses our attention on present political and economic realities that cannot be reduced to essentialist “tribalist” ideas. Menoret illustrates the emerging autonomous–and Islamic–manifestations of Saudi national identity, fiercely reformist rather than medieval, complex and varied rather than merely a justification or support for the rule of the al-Saud royal family. Underlying this account is a sophisticated economic history of the Saudi state, from the eighteenth century to the present day, which details all the alliances and manoeuvres that have brought the country and its rulers to their current precarious position.
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