Monday, September 17, 2007

RAND on Saudi Arabia and ‘Ungoverned Territories’

by John F Burgess from Crossroads Arabia and RAND

The linked report (a 398-page PDF document) is comprehensive. Unfortunately, the section on the Arabian Peninsula is based on research conducted in 2005. I find that the two-year gap between then and now is an important one that should be filled ASAP. It misses both attacks and countermeasures, thus presenting an incomplete picture.

(from the report) The Saudis responded to the ideological challenge of Khomeinism by seeking to bolster their religious legitimacy. They tightened religious observances at home and, of greater consequence, stepped up the propagation of the official Wahhabi ideology abroad. The Saudi effort to co-opt extremists has not prevented, and may have accelerated, the rise of a neo-Salafi jihadist movement, a more virulent brand of extremists seeking to overthrow “apostate” regimes in the region that currently constitutes the most serious threat to stability on the peninsula.

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