The Foundations of the Maintaining of Political Stability in Saudi Arabia (2011-2015)

Document Type : Original Article


1 Associate Professor of International Relations, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran

2 Ph.D Student of International Relations, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran


The uprising in the Arab countries, what is called Arab Spring, in 2011 is considered as one of most important political phenomenon in the Middle East during the last century. In fact, some expertise believes that the revolutionary evaluation in Arab countries such as Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Tunisia has changed the old political order and as a result a new order is under constructing. In spite of the fact that Saudi Arabia has a monarch political system, it could interestingly preserve its political stability during uprising. Understanding the reason and instrument which were used by the Kingdom, what that is considered to be analyzed here, would be of high account for political students and even political elites.
With a descriptive-analytical method we would use second hand sources such as books, articles, bulletins and reports which are in English, Persian and Arabic in order to analyze the details of the research program.
The findings of the research are discussed under the following themes:

The analysis of the Saudi Arabia political structure in order to understanding the political process in the country.

Saudi Arabia has a monarch political structure in which Ale- Saud has been always the omnipotent class. The political structure of the Kingdom is a combination of the Al-Saud and Ale-Shaykh; however, it is the Ale-Saud that has the upper hand and it is the king that would assign the religious official in the country. So, these two pills of power cooperate together so that preserves their power in the country.

The history of the authoritarianism in the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia officials have a long history of suppressing dissents. In fact, they do not tolerate any opposition in the country. But the new round of opposition and suppression by the government has started since the 1990 when government and its security forces crack downed demonstrations in the country’s universities. This pattern has been continued even at the beginning of the new century when the broaden objection with the political situation by what so called Sahwa Movement has accorded in the 2003-4.

The Saudi government and the Arab Spring.

What is called Arab Spring was against the Kingdom interest; hence, King Abdullah condemned the revolutionary movement in the neighboring countries. Besides, at the time when some eastern cities of Saudi Arabia have been destabilized and some political activist tried to use the situation and asked the government to reform the political structure in order to have some kind of constitutionalism, Saudi official used their power instruments so as to deal with the concerning situation they were face with. Firstly, government approved a bill by which a 110 $ package was considered to improve the social welfare in the country. Secondly, religious officials used their social influences so as to support the King and the political structure of the country. They announced the movement and protestation as a movement against god and Holly Quran. The last but not the least, security forces take to the streets and suppressed any protestation in the eastern areas.
In most of the Middle East countries as a whole and especially in Saudi Arabia pluralism does not make a sense. As a result, Liberal groups, Shia people, women and even those religious but moderate groups all are under pressure. Such a policy has been always dictated by the government during the lifespan of the Kingdom. In fact, even during King Abdullah’s reign who is considered as a reformist king, that policy has been adopted? That was why political; security official together condemned and suppressed the oppositions in 2011.
In the Saudi Arabia resemblance to other countries in the region discontent rate is high, as some movement and protestation shown in 2011; however, the government could preserve the political stability by offering financial incentive, religious leaders and security crackdown. As a result, as Gramsci says, the historical block controlled and managed the situation and preserved the political stability in the country. In fact, it is of high account to consider that the Saudi Arabia society as a Wahhabis’ society is much more conservative than the Saudi Government, as a result even limited reform by the government related to the women or Shia people would be opposed by the Wahhabis’ leaders and Sheikh.


Volume 12, Issue 41
March 2016
Pages 189-216
  • Receive Date: 30 October 2015
  • Revise Date: 18 January 2016
  • Accept Date: 15 March 2016
  • First Publish Date: 20 March 2016