Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: King Abdullah

Saudi Arabia under King Abdullah

King Abdullah’s reign in Saudi Arabia has come to an end with his death at age 90. Abdullah became king in 2005, but his rule truly began in 1996, when, as crown prince, he became King Fahd’s regent. Effectively, he was in power for nearly 20 years. It can often be difficult to judge the legacies of democratically elected leaders. Their short terms in office make it difficult to distinguish the effects of their administrations from those who precede and follow them. By contrast, autocratic rulers not only typically rule for far longer, but they also have much greater personal influence over the policies that emerge during their reigns. For these reasons, when a long-serving autocrat passes the torch, it is an interesting and useful exercise to have a look at how much better or worse off their country is now than it was when they rose to power. In March 2013, I ran a similar piece about Hugo Chavez’ 14-year reign. So let’s look at Abdullah’s legacy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Saudi Arabia’s UN Boycott

The UN Security Council includes a group of permanent members (USA, Russia, China, UK, France) and a group of rotating temporary members from the world’s various regions, each of which serves a two year term. Only the permanent members possess veto power over Security Council resolutions, but being a temporary member gives a member state a vote and a platform. This is why it is so very odd that Saudi Arabia, which has just now been offered a temporary seat on the Security Council, has chosen to reject that seat as a form of protest. What do the Saudis hope to achieve by refusing to take their seat, and are they likely to be successful? Even more broadly, how is the UN perceived differently in countries that do not have permanent membership on the Security Council?

Read the rest of this entry »