The Saudi Question: What Fate Awaits the World's Top Oil Exporter?

The Saudi Question: What Fate Awaits the World's Top Oil Exporter? (58:00)
Item# 36140

Despite severe restrictions on Western media, this Wide Angle documentary goes deep inside the ruling elite of the Saudi kingdom. With an introduction to the royal family from reform-minded Prince Turki al-Faisal, the program explores the Saudi government’s ability—or lack thereof—to implement lasting democratic change. It records an extraordinary emergency council session convened by then Crown Prince Abdullah and features an interview with Jamal Khaleefa, Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law. Conversations with ordinary citizens are also included—presenting Saudis who welcome progressive reforms and Wahabist hardliners who advocate the destruction of all infidels. In addition, Senator Joseph R. Biden discusses Saudi Arabia with anchor Carol Marin. (57 minutes)

Copyright © 2023, Films Media Group, All Rights Reserved

Segments in this Video - (13)

1. Saudi Royal Family (04:42)
 Available for Free Preview

Under increasing terrorist threats and violence, the royal family feels the pressure to reform and liberalize the kingdom and yet to maintain their legitimacy as guardians of Islam's holiest shrines. Many Saudis want a democratic society but not a replica of the Western model.

2. Saudi Royal Family and Reform (03:18)

Prince Turki al-Faisal, a progressive voice in the expansive Saud family, argues that political reform is inevitable, but must balance its Islamic heritage with modernization. Paying 4000 princes burdens the Saudi population. Will it continue?

3. Conservative Society (01:52)

Saudi Arabia is the spiritual center of the Muslim world and the site of Medina and Mecca, Islam’s holiest shrines. The discovery of oil 6 years after the country was founded in 1938 forges a close relationship with the U.S., a major oil consumer.

4. Islamic Extremists (04:00)

The 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan radicalize thousands of young Saudis and call them to arms. Turki al-Faisal and other Muslims join with Western allies to drive the Soviets out.

5. Social Problems in Saudi Arabia (04:44)

In 2004, jihadists turn their war efforts against the government and disseminate their ideology on radical websites. Unrest and unemployment is high among the 60% of Saudis under age 21, creating a breeding ground for extremist ideologies.

6. Extremism and Reform (03:18)

It is important to distinguish between terrorism and religious conservatism because terrorism is an ideology made to look religious. Saudi authorities confront extremism, dismissing imams who preach hate-filled sermons.

7. Women and Social Reform (05:49)

In a society where women may not drive and who make up only 5% of the work force, expanding women's rights is a major task. Though some women are pioneers in professional and social reform, many others women remain cautious.

8. Reform and Democracy (03:44)

Democracy is a slow process that must allow people of tribal origin to adjust to new freedoms. Reform must take place at a measured pace even though many conservative branches of the royal family oppose democratic reforms.

9. Reform Groups in Saudi Arabia (04:01)

Those who deviate from strict Muslim doctrine are subject to severe consequences. Speaking out against the hardliners is dangerous, so most reform groups are cautious, polite, and English speaking.

10. Violent Minority vs. Superpower (03:40)

A violent minority has emerged determined to overthrow the Saudi government and eliminate the influence of its allies, namely America. The Mujahideen (including Osama bin Laden) are fearless about attacking a superpower.

11. Religious Tradition (02:35)

The Saudi question is whether change and stability in Saudi Arabia can co-exist in a nation steeped in religious tradition.

12. Senator Joseph Biden on Saudi Arabia (04:33)

Senator Biden discusses Wahabist extremists and their "hate-America" rhetoric. Saudi Arabia imports 6 million workers instead of hiring Saudis. Biden credits much of the unemployment with the low quality of the educational system.

13. United States and Saudi Arabia (06:23)

Biden warns that Saudi Arabia must—with the encouragement and support of the U.S.—democratize before it becomes radicalized. Saudis must identify and stop the sources of funding for al Qaeda. Saudi oil is America's priority.

Powered by Films On Demand