Culture Magazine

Saudi Arabia, Soup to Nuts, Some Informative Notes

By Bbenzon @bbenzon

Matt Lakeman, Notes on Saudi Arabia, November 22, 2022

This essay is my attempt to explain what has been happening in Saudi Arabia over the last five years, and why. To do so, I have to go all the way back to SA’s origins and follow the throughline to the present day. My understanding presented here comes from my own experiences in the country, Wikipedia, a bunch of random online articles and statistics, and two main sources:

David Rundell – a former American diplomat to Saudi Arabia for 30 years, and the author of Vision or Mirage: Saudi Arabia at the Crossroads.

Graeme (pronounced “gram”) Wood – a journalist who has traveled around Saudi Arabia and got rare interviews with Mohammad Bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and current de facto ruler. He wrote Absolute Power and a few other articles on SA for the Atlantic, plus did a podcast with Sam Harris which covers most of the same territory but has some good color commentary. Wood is an amazing journalist and basically does my dream job.

Major Topics:

Overview of Saudi Arabia
Politics
Economy
Saudi Military
Terrorism
The Quiet Political Revolution
Vision 2030 [including Neom]
The Case Against MBS and Vision 2030
Visiting Saudi Arabia
Miscellaneous

H/t Tyler Cowen.

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