Ed Attwood writing in 'Arabian Business' - Deft fiscal control has left Saudi Arabia in better shape than most. But the kingdom’s sternest tests are still to come.
The final chapter in Robert Lacey’s recent portrait of Saudi Arabia, ‘Inside the Kingdom’, ends in rather a depressing manner. Citing interviews with members of the royal family, Lacey describes a scene in 2007 where HRH King Abdullah visits the site of the university that is set to bear his name — the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) — only to find that work had not progressed as far as he had hoped. Disappointed, King Abdullah returns home to Jeddah, and the book concludes with the monarch poignantly staying longer at his prayers that evening.
Politician, diplomat and poet who had the ear of the reforming King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia
The death of Dr Ghazi Al-Qosaibi, the straight-talking Saudi technocrat, diplomat and poet, leaves a large hole at the top of the power structure in King Abdullah's Saudi Arabia. Ostensibly Ghazi (pronounced "Rhazzi") was Minister of Labour, charged with the hopeless task of reducing the foreign labour force and getting male Saudis to do a decent day's work. In reality he was the King's principal non-family confidant and adviser, the closest thing he had to a prime minister.