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POLSC321: Mideast Politics

Unit 8: Oil and the Political History of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States   The political history of Saudi Arabia differs dramatically from that of the rest of the Middle East.  First, Saudi Arabia was never colonized by European states, and, second, it sits on the world’s largest known oil reserves.  In this unit, you will investigate the role of oil in Saudi politics and in the broader region.  You will also explore Saudi Arabia’s attempt to synthesize Wahhabism, monarchy, and modernization.

Unit 8 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 3.75 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 8.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 8.2: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 8.3: 0.25 hour

Unit8 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Summarize the primary principles of Wahhabism. - Identify the origin and purpose of OPEC. - Identify how OPEC has been able to gain political influence.  - Identify who rules in Saudi Arabia, and summarize the government’s strategy of governance and its attitude toward Islam. - Identify the uses to which Saudi Arabia has put its oil wealth as well as the advantages and disadvantages of this policy.

8.1 Wahhabism   8.1.1 History   - Reading: Zackary M. Heern’s “The Middle East and Islam: Wahhabism” Link: Zackary M. Heern’s “The Middle East and Islam: Wahhabism” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire webpage to learn about the origin and spread of Wahhabism.
 
You should spend approximately 15 minutes on this resource. 
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

8.1.2 Primary Tenets   - Reading: Christopher M. Blanchard’s “The Islamic Traditions of Wahhabism and Salafiyya” Link: Christopher M. Blanchard’s “The Islamic Traditions of Wahhabism and Salafiyya” (PDF)
           
Instructions: Please click on the link above, scroll down, and click the article title to download the PDF file. Read the entire report (6 pages).  As you read, please focus on the primary tenets of Wahhabism.
 
You should spend approximately 45 minutes on this resource.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

8.2 Saudi Government   - Web Media: Carnegie Council: Bernard Haykel and Joanne J. Myer’s “Islam in Saudi Arabia’s Politics” and Robert Lacey’s “Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia” Link: Carnegie Council: Bernard Haykel and Joanne J. Myer’s “Islam in Saudi Arabia’s Politics” (MP3) and Robert Lacey’s “Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia” (MP3)
 
Instructions: Please click on the links above, and view these videos in their entirety to learn about the Saudi royal family’s strategies for governance and the influence of Islam on the society and the state.  Please note that these resources cover the topics outlined in sub-subunits 8.2.1 and 8.2.2.
 
Studying these resources should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

8.2.1 Role of the Civil War in Yemen   - Reading: Global Security: John Pike’s “North Yemen Civil War (1962-1970)” Link: Global Security: John Pike’s “North Yemen Civil War (1962-1970)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire article.  Focus on the reasons for Saudi Arabia’s and Egypt’s entry into the war.
 
Studying this reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

8.2.2 Role of Oil in Saudi Politics   Note: This topic is covered by the resources assigned below subunit 8.2.  In particular, the role of oil in Saudi politics is covered in Robert Lacey’s “Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia.”

8.3 OPEC   - Reading: The Daily Bell: “Organizing of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)” Link: The Daily Bell: “Organizing of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire text.  Focus on the reasons for the founding of OPEC and the influence it wields over global politics.
 
You should spend approximately 15 minutes on this resource.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.