Instead his government issued a series of royal

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Unformatted text preview: the future, but it is important to note that Saudi stability has been the product of the fact that its government has dealt with each wave of change by making the reforms that are critical to maintaining popular support. The current King – King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz -- may be in his late 80s, he led a government that consistently pursued policies that made him a symbol of social, economic, and educational reform to many Saudis but long before the current crisis. At the same time, he has dealt with the fact that the Saudi population and clergy are deeply committed to a puritanical form of Islam and resist social change when it seems to come into conflict with traditional religious and social practices, and that Saudi society is driven by its internal values and demands that are very different those of Western secularism. It is striking that when this new wave of crises began, King Abdullah did not react with a wave of new security measures. Instead, his government issued a series of royal decrees that provided a multi-billion dollar investment in stability by meeting the people’s needs. The Saudi government has announced that these investments include: $10.6 billion (SR 40 billion) in new funding for housing loans through the Real Estate Development Fund. $7.9 billion (SR 20 billion) in funding to increase the capital of the Saudi Credit Bank $266 million (SR 1 billion) to enable social insurance to increase the number of family members covered $319.9 million (SR 1.2 billion) to expand social services. $933 million (SR 3.5 billion) to help the needy repair their homes and pay utility bills $126.9 million (SR 476 million) to support programs for needy students at the Ministry of Education. $3.9 billion (SR 15 billion) to support the General Housing Authority A 15% pay increases for state employees. 50 percent increase in the annual allocations for charitable organizations to $120 million (SR 450 million). $26.7 million ($100 million) annually allocation to projects of the National Charitable Fund will get SR 100 million These investments total some $36 billion and they are obviously intended to defuse popular unrest. At the same time, they are not some sudden rush to invest in jobs, housing, medical services, and education. They reflect half a century of Saudi government investment in precisely the priorities that drove the core demands of the protesters in Egypt and Tunisia and the focus of social justice that has been the key to most of the current unrest in the Middle East. History scarcely means we can take Saudi stability for granted. Saudi Arabia is simply too critical to US strategic interests and the world. Saudi petroleum exports play a critical role in the stability and growth of a steadily more global economy, and the latest projections by the Department of Energy do not project any major reductions in the direct level of US dependence on oil imports through 2025. Saudi Arabia is as important to the region’s security and stability as it is to the world’s economy. It is the key to the efforts of the Gulf Cooper...
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This note was uploaded on 01/30/2013 for the course ECON 101 taught by Professor Burke during the Spring '13 term at Southern Arkansas University.

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