John Hulsman, a leading expert on the political economy of the Middle East, has written for City AM that “the death of long-ruling King Abdullah reminds us of the Achilles’ heel of the system of absolute monarchy.”
In this insightful take on the ins and outs of the Saudi succession, John notes that “to understand Saudi Arabia, the most important monarchy left in the world, we have to dwell in the land of personalities, petty jealousies, and behind-the-scenes power plays, because that is how things are precariously determined.”
He goes on to argue that the problem with the Saudi monarchy succession is that it works horizontally rather than vertically, as is the case in most European systems of kingship. Consequently, monarchs in this system fail to keep up with the times. Whilst this system of succession looks well able to endure in the near term, John believes that the day of reckoning for the House of Saud is not far off.
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