Madawi Al-Rasheed

Madawi Al-Rasheed is a visiting professor at the LSE’s Middle East Centre. She is the author of several books on Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Lie

Madawi Al-Rasheed, 21 March 2019

If Saudi progress is to be measured against Western models, then we had better be sure we measure everything – not just the words of a prince, or how excellently he adheres to McKinsey’s economic plans. Behind all the distorted coverage of Saudi Arabia, it seems to me, is an exoticising assumption: they’ll never be quite like us, though they deserve extravagant praise for trying. But Saudi Arabia is a country like any other. Autocracy and dictatorship are not its natural or inevitable forms of government. Journalism that celebrates incremental reform while ignoring the structural problems of life under absolute monarchy is no help. But I imagine most of the part-time Saudi-watchers would be horrified at the thought of a real revolutionary change that might eventually lead to a restriction of the powers of the monarch, or even the monarchy’s abolition.

In Princes’ Pockets: Saudi Oil

Tariq Ali, 19 July 2007

The day after the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001, a Saudi woman resident in London, a member of a wealthy family, rang her sister in Riyadh to discuss the crisis affecting the...

Read More

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences