Saudi Arabia and the Arab Spring: the Kingdom’s Endurance
When the wave of protests known as the “Arab Spring” spurred through the Middle East starting late 2010, the debate around why some regimes persisted while others fell dominated the academic literature and even continues to this day. This paper focuses on the case of Saudi Arabia and explores what are arguably the five main factors for its endurance during the Arab Spring, specifically between late 2010 and late 2013. By doing so, it aims to contribute towards the existing academic debate of internal versus external factors that have enabled the Gulf States like Saudi Arabia to persist through the Arab Spring, when many other regimes in the region failed to do so. By analysing the statecraft of Saudi Arabia, this paper argues that the internal factors, specifically governance, military, and oil have collectively weighed more than external factors, that are, regional and international relations of the Kingdom. Thereby, justifying the perseverance of the Kingdom during the regional turmoil at that time. Following the main conclusion, the paper also argues that if there was one factor out of the three internal ones which could be credited with being the most effective for the endurance of Saudi Arabia, it would be its key economic pillar: oil. This is because oil and the wealth generated from it significantly supports not just the other two internal factors (governance and military), but also the two external ones (regional and international relations) as well.