January 20, 2013

Gulf Monarchs Are Beginning to Panic

The Economist, The Economist

AP Photo

As every monarch in the Gulf knows, even geysers of oil cannot keep all your subjects happy all of the time. Still, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia may have been surprised that his recent appointment of 30 women to the kingdom’s 150-person shura council should provoke a public protest. The all-appointed body, a sort of proto-parliament, has limited influence; the move, announced on January 11th, was the long-expected response to demands for reform by a king who has gingerly promoted women’s rights since assuming the throne in 2005. Even so, dozens of conservative clerics picketed the royal court in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on January 15th, to condemn what one cowled sheikh decried as “dangerous changes” in the arch-conservative kingdom.

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TAGGED: Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, UAE, Oman, Middle East, Saudi Arabia

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