Request Inspection Copy Description Analysis of both official and opposition Saudi divine politics is often monolithic, conjuring images of conservatism, radicalism, misogyny and resistance to democracy. In her new book Madawi Al-Rasheed challenges this stereotype as she examines a long tradition of engaging with modernism that gathered momentum with the Arab uprisings and incurred the wrath of both the Saudi regime and its Wahhabi supporters. With this nascent modernism, constructions of new divine politics, anchored in a rigorous reinterpretation of foundational Islamic texts and civil society activism, are emerging in a context where an authoritarian state prefers its advocates to remain muted. Based on a plethora of texts written by ulama and intellectuals, interviews with important modernist interlocutors, and analysis of online sources, mainly new social media activism, Madawi Al-Rasheed debunks several academic and ideological myths about a country struggling to free itself from the straitjacket of predetermined analysis and misguided understandings of divine politics.

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To save its reputation and avoid becoming a pariah state in the aftermath of the Khashoggi murder, Saudi Arabia should replace its crown prince. By Madawi al-Rasheed Ms. Rasheed is a historian of Saudi Arabia. The royal court in Riyadh — including King Salman bin Abdulaziz — surely realizes that this situation cannot continue. If they are smart they will take decisive action. First, King Salman needs to remove Prince Mohammed from his post, admit responsibility for the assassination of Mr.

Khashoggi, and face consequences. Later, if Saudi Arabia truly wants to become a respected member of the international community, the government should take steps toward becoming a constitutional monarchy. The idea that King Salman would replace his son, also known as M. If it is the will of the king, dismissing a crown prince is not very difficult or controversial.

King Salman already sacked two crown princes when he became king in his half brother, Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, and his nephew, Prince Muhammad bin Nayef. They were both sidelined by royal decree. But there is a more useful historical example when we consider M.

The kingdom was on the brink of bankruptcy and the United States was alarmed. Several princes led by Talal bin Abdulaziz, the father of Prince Walid bin Talal , went into exile in Beirut and Cairo, from where they demanded a constitutional monarchy. King Saud became persona non grata in the royal family. Crown Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz, a shrewd strategist, worked with other princes, got a religious decree from the clergy, and forced King Saud to abdicate after besieging his palace with the National Guard.

There are several eligible candidates to replace the disastrous Prince Mohammed. Prince Ahmad, a brother of King Salman, who has been sidelined for a long time after a short career as deputy minister of interior, may be a good choice. He is a marginal figure and neither powerful nor aggressive. Given the resentment against the iron fist of M. Prince Muhammad bin Nayef has a reputation for ruthlessness and may not be able to amass support from the royalty and the commoners.

He was loved by the Western governments for his campaign against Al Qaeda since and was offered the George Tenet medal by the C. But he also spread fear in society, detaining and torturing activists, and many Saudis suffered as he used the war on terror to silence peaceful dissent.

His power base was among the tribal groups that joined the national guard. He can live off the reputation of his father as the old patron of the kingdom. If he continues the paternalism of his father, he may become a focal symbol for rebuilding trust among his own kin. Nobody knows for sure what the Saudi royals are thinking, but nobody would challenge King Salman if he replaces his son. Most people patronized by M. But it is unclear if the aging King Salman fully understands that damage M.

Cosmetic measures — women driving, cinemas, theaters — are not enough to usher in a new dawn in the kingdom. Although a long shot, if King Salman does replace M. That alone will prevent the emergence of a new M. Saudi Arabia has had the time and the money to transform itself into a modern state that respects basic human rights and freedoms, but it has avoided that path. In the past, citizens and some royals have sought rudimentary forms of political representation but c alls for constitutional monarchy have landed its proponents in prison.

There is little hope of change. King Salman will never voluntarily push for such a change without serious pressure from inside and outside the country. Replacing M.


Muted Modernists

Request Inspection Copy Description King Salman of Saudi Arabia began his rule in confronted with a series of unprecedented challenges. The dilemmas he has faced are new and significant, from leadership shuffles and falling oil prices to regional and international upheaval. This book offers historical and contemporary insights into the various problems that persist in haunting the Saudi state. They trace both policy continuities and recent ruptures that have perplexed observers of Saudi Arabia. At stake is the future of a country that remains vital to regional stability, international security, and the global economy. This is a story as gripping as any game of thrones. Comprehensive in its scope, nuanced in its interpretation, with a plethora of fresh historical and political insights—no serious student of contemporary Saudi Arabia can afford to ignore this book.


Madawi al-Rasheed



Why King Salman Must Replace M.B.S.



Salman’s Legacy


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