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The Islamic Utopia

The Islamic Utopia

The Illusion of Reform in Saudi Arabia

by Andrew Hammond

A challenge to the West's alliance with the Saudi royal family
Will Saudi Arabia join the democratic wave in the Middle East? The uprisings and revolutions of the twenty-first century have not yet affected the stability of the House of Saud, which remains secretive, highly repressive and propped up by the West.

The Islamic Utopia uses a range of sources including first-hand reporting and recently released WikiLeaks documents to examine Saudi Arabia in the decade after the 9/11 attacks, when King Abdullah’s 'reform' agenda took centre stage in public debate. It considers Saudi claims of 'exemption' from the democratic demands of the Arab Spring.

Andrew Hammond argues that for too long Western media and governments have accepted Saudi leaders' claims to be a buttress against jihadist Islam and that a new policy is needed towards the House of Saud.

Andrew Hammond is a senior correspondent for a global news agency, currently based in Dubai. He is the author of What The Arabs Think of America (2008) and Popular Culture in the Arab World (2007), and was the agency bureau chief in Saudi Arabia for several years.

'If there is anyone who can write knowledgeably and intelligently about Saudi Arabia, it is Andrew Hammond' - As'ad AbuKhalil, Department of Politics, California State University Stanislaus, author of 'The Battle for Saudi Arabia: Royalty, Fundamentalism, and Global Power' 'Fascinating. Reconciles the demands of scholarly depth with keen personal insights into everyday life in Saudi Arabia' - Dr Larbi Sadiki, Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics, University of Exeter 'A timely and insightful book exposing the many myths underpinning the stability of the Saudi state. Packed with sharp analysis on the ruling family's religious alliances, its grappling with terrorists, and its looming inability to keep spending its way out of political crises, Hammond's work is an Arab Spring must-read' - Dr Christopher M. Davidson, Reader in Middle East Politics, Durham University, author of Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success and editor of Power and Politics in the Persian Gulf Monarchies
Introduction
1. The Religious Society
2. Government in the Sharia state
3. The Warrior King and His Priests
4. Segregated nation
5. The Illusion of Reform
6. Foreign Policy Adventurism: Iran and Palestine
7. The Saudi Cordon Sanitaire in Arab Media
8. Controlling Mecca: In the House of God
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Published by Pluto Press in Oct 2012
eBook ISBN: 9781849647380

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