What implications do these startling events have for the political future of this major oil producer and main ally of the West, especially the dominant world power, the United States? How will this phenomenon effect Saudi Arabia’s role as custodian of the two holiest places for a billion Muslims?
We are seeing the awakening of a sense of Arab heritage inspired by identification with young Palestinians being gunned down by Israeli troops. This is intricately linked to the wider Muslim religious affinity with the third holiest site, Jerusalem.
As the men and women on Saudi Arabia’s streets shake off their subservient silence, how will palace and people relate in the near future? We have entered a period of turbulence during which the ruled are negotiating their relationship with the rulers. The perception of authority is changing.