Thursday, September 29, 2011

A peek under Saudi Arabia's veil

DAMASCUS - Will the Arab Spring eventually reach Saudi Arabia? This question seems to be on everybody's mind, from think-tanks in the United States to traditional cafes in Damascus and Baghdad.

King Abdullah, aged 87, knows what it takes to please young Saudis. With swift moves, he has managed, for now, to keep a job bequeathed to him and his brothers by their father, the kingdom's founder, King Abdul Aziz. In March, shortly after the collapse of Saudi Arabia's ally, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, in what was seen as a pre-emptive measure, King Abdullah ordered a massive increase in spending, up to $130 billion over the next decade, on measures like affordable housing for young Saudis.

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