Global Security Watch—Saudi Arabia
by Matthew Gray
October 2014, 215pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38699-2
$64, £50, 56€, A88
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38700-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The United States’ intervention in the Middle East has always been directly related to energy security and supply.

Examines the causes and consequences of Saudi Arabia's current security policy and the domestic, regional, and international challenges the country's defense program presents to the general welfare of the Middle East.

As possessor of a quarter of the world’s oil reserves and host to two of the holiest cities in Islam, Saudi Arabia is an integral part of the cultural, economic, and political well-being of the Middle East. From Persian Gulf security, to Middle Eastern politics, to the international energy industry, events in this desert kingdom strongly impact the stability of the region. This comprehensive resource analyzes contemporary Saudi Arabia—its modern history, the role of Islam, and the nature of Saudi foreign relations—and reveals how these and other factors dictate and shape the country’s current security policies and priorities.

Middle East expert and author Mathew Gray has organized the work into six sections: the first provides an historical overview of the region from the mid-1700s to the 1980s; the second explores the Saudi political and security system; the third discusses Saudi-U.S. relations; the fourth looks at Saudi relations with the Gulf region and the wider Middle East; and the fifth considers Saudi Arabia’s role in Sunni extremism and terrorism. The final chapter looks at emerging security threats for Saudi Arabia. The book includes an overview of future challenges and risks including climate change, water shortages, and problems of Saudi identity and social dispersion.


  • Explains the role of oil in sustaining the state-society political bargain, and the impact of population on its effectiveness
  • Links Islam and Islamic extremism to a range of influencing factors, including political pressure, demographic changes, and the role of globalization in fostering more extreme views
  • Weaves together an analysis of politics, economics, foreign relations, and social change, showing how these all relate to and impact each other and, above all, shape Saudi Arabia’s and the Middle East’s security environment
Matthew Gray, PhD, is associate professor at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at The Australian National University. His published works include Qatar: Politics and the Challenges of Development and Conspiracy Theories in the Arab World: Sources and Politics as well as numerous journal articles and other works focused on the Middle East.


"Global Security Watch: Saudi Arabia is a tightly written, excellent, short introduction to political, religious, economic, and regional issues with regards to Saudi Arabia. . . . Overall this is an excellent entry point to learning about this country historically and in regard to contemporary security issues. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels."—Choice, July 1, 2015

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