Thursday, January 24, 2013

America's Saudi Problem

"...I don't believe that Saudi Arabia is poised for a revolution (though a lot of people in Riyadh wanted to know whether Bruce Riedel's views were widely shared in Washington). Even the most determined reformers with whom I spoke told me that they expected meaningful change in a longer time frame (some said three to five years, others five to 10 --- an eternity in American strategic practice). But "revolution" sets the bar too high. The changes that have already taken place -- from the furious protests in the Eastern Province to the renewed push for women's rights to a legal campaign for human rights to the dramatic opening of online public debate -- strike me as profoundly important. It simply does not seem plausible that a country with such a young and intensely wired population can maintain indefinitely a system which denies transparency, accountability, or equal citizenship. ..."

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