Advertisement

No Democracy Please, We’re Saudis

  • David Cowan
Chapter

Abstract

At the level of political international relations theorists explore how and why states act and interact, and examine what we mean by sovereignty. The foundation of western political thought about states is the Westphalian system, which is clearly understood. The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 ended the Thirty Years’ War and brought about the modern European nation state system and the system of sovereign states, not just for Europe but the world. While the notions of statehood and sovereignty are applied in the Arab world, the picture is somewhat more complex, for two principal reasons. First, the oft-stated call for Arab unity, and second the role of religion in the Arab world. Pan-Arabism is understood to be at the core of regional diplomacy and interactions between the states, which if carried to its logical conclusion would override the Westphalian system of states with their self-interest and conflict, and instead lead to greater unity in the interests of pan-Arab goals. Clearly this is not the case, as pan-Arabism is stymied by the many variances within the Arab world. Likewise religion, which is often taken to be oppositional when it comes to Islam. In the case of Saudi, we have a state that is monarchical and self-interested in maintaining the house of Saud, and one that binds together the leading families with religion as a social thread running throughout the kingdom. It has many conflicts with other Arab and Islamic states on the one hand, and promotes global Islam on the other. In short, Islam overrides nationalism, and Saudi Arabia as a kingdom understands its role to be custodian of both the two holy sites and the Arabian peninsula as the home of Mohammed’s Islam and also globally as a kingdom that promotes the spirit of global Islam, which in turn eclipses any national identity or interest.

Bibliography

  1. al-Rasheed, Madawi, ed. 2008. Kingdom Without Borders: Saudi Arabia’s Political, Religious and Media Frontiers. London: Hurst.Google Scholar
  2. Allawai, Ali A. 2009. The Crisis of Islamic Civilization. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Barber, Benjamin R. 2001. Jihad vs McWorld: Terrorism’s Challenge to Democracy. New York: Ballantine Books.Google Scholar
  4. Berger, Peter. 1973. The Social Reality of Religion. Middlesex: Penguin.Google Scholar
  5. Black, Antony. 2001. The History of Islamic Political Thought: From the Prophet to the Present. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bowering, Gerhard, ed. 2015. Islamic Political Thought: An Introduction. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Champion, Daryl. 2003. The Paradoxical Kingdom: Saudi Arabia and the Momentum of Reform. London: Hurst and Company.Google Scholar
  8. Cowan, David. 2009. Economic Parables: The Monetary Teachings of Jesus Christ. 2nd ed. Downers Grove: IVP.Google Scholar
  9. Craze, Jonathan, and Mark Huband. 2009. The Kingdom: Saudi Arabia and the Challenge of the 21st Century. London: Hurst & Co.Google Scholar
  10. Cunningham, Robert B., and Yasin K. Sarayrah. 1993. Wasta: The Hidden Force in Middle Eastern Society. Westport: Praeger.Google Scholar
  11. Esposito, John L. 2002. Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Fawcett, Louise. 2016. International Relations of the Middle East. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Gause, F. Gregory, III. 1994. Oil Monarchies: Domestic and Security Challenges in the Arab Gulf States. New York: Council on Foreign Relations.Google Scholar
  14. Halliday, Fred. 2000. Nation and Religion in the Middle East. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.Google Scholar
  15. Hamid, Shadi. 2016. Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam Is Reshaping the World. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  16. Haykel, Bernard, Thomas Hegghammer, and Stéphane Lacroix. 2015. Saudi Arabia in Transition: Insights on Social, Political, Economic and Religious Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hegghammer, Thomas. 2010. Jihad in Saudi Arabia: Violence and Pan-Islamism since 1979. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hinnebusch, Raymond. 2003. The International Politics of the Middle East. Manchester: Manchester University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hopkins, Nicholas S., and Saad Eddin Ibrahimed, eds. 1998. Arab Society: Class, Gender, Power & Development. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press.Google Scholar
  20. Hourani, Albert. 2002. A History of the Arab Peoples. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.Google Scholar
  21. House, Karen Elliott. 2012. On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines – And Future. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  22. Karsh, Effraim. 2006. Islamic Imperialism: A History. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Kepel, Gilles. 2004. The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West. Trans. Pascal Ghazaleh. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.Google Scholar
  24. Kerr, Malcolm. 1965. The Arab Cold War, 1958–1964: A Study of Ideology in Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Khaldun, Ibn. 1967. The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Lacey, Robert. 2009. Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Terrorists, Modernists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia. New York: Viking.Google Scholar
  27. Lewis, Bernard. 2002. The Arabs in History. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Lippman, Thomas W. 2012. Saudi Arabia on the Edge: The Uncertain Future of an American Ally. Dulles: Potomac Books.Google Scholar
  29. Luciani, Giacomo, ed. 1990. The Arab State. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  30. Lynch, Timothy J., and Robert S. Singh. 2008. After Bush: The Case for Continuity in American Foreign Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mabon, Simon. 2016. Saudi Arabia and Iran: Power and Rivalry in the Middle East. New York: I.B. Tauris.Google Scholar
  32. Mansfield, Peter. 1985. The Arabs. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  33. Matthiesen, Toby. 2015. The Other Saudis: Shiism, Dissent and Sectarianism. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Miller, David Aaron. 1980. Search for Security: Saudi Arabian Oil and American Foreign Policy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  35. Morgenthau, Hans J. 1954. Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace. 2nd ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  36. Nasr, Vali. 2009. The Rise of Islamic Capitalism: Why the New Muslim Middle Class Is the Key to Defeating Extremism. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  37. Ramadan, Tariq. 2012. Islam and the Arab Awakening. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Raphael, Patai. 1973. The Arab Mind. New York: Scribner.Google Scholar
  39. Said, Edward W. 1979. Orientalism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  40. ———. 1981. Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  41. Salame, Ghassan, ed. 1994. Democracy Without Democrats? The Renewal of Politics in the Muslim World. London: I.B. Tauris.Google Scholar
  42. Shabbir, Akhtar. 1985. In Philosophy Bridging the World Religions, ed. P. Koslowski. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  43. Vitalis, Robert. 2009. America’s Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  44. Williams, Michael C. 2008. Realism Reconsidered: The Legacy of Hans J. Morgenthau in International Relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Wilson, Bryan. 1966. Religion in a Secular Society. London: Watts.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Cowan
    • 1
  1. 1.Boston CollegeBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations