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The Tunisian crisis, which has now spread to Egypt, and to a lesser extent Jordan, may soon target Saudi Arabia, according to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.At first glance, we’re sceptical. If any regime has enough guns to counter a revolutionary force, it’s Saudi Arabia. It’s is the U.S. government’s “top customer” for arms sales, according to the Federation of American Scientists. Also, it has tremendous wealth from its petroleum sales, enough to buy off any dissent with food and fuel subsidies.
There are, however, quite a few reasons why Saudi Arabia is the next domino, according to Evans-Pritchard.
- Youth unemployment (20-24 years old): 42%
- Minority religious group: Shia 10%
- Demographic diversity: One third of all residents foreign
This is of economic concern because the Shia, the most likely section of the population to revolt, happen to live right on top of the country’s oil reserves.
Protests have started in Saudi Arabia, but are at this time focused on the government’s poor performance in handling and preparing for recent floods.
Whether or not they develop into something more powerful is, at the moment, doubtful. But certainly it is a major concern for those worried oil shipments from the region.