The paper deals with the matter of Saudi youth as this correlates to increasing social problems of unemployment and sometimes antithetical cultural currents in conjunction with the spread of alternative media and a burgeoning public ‘space’ provided by the Internet. A third of the Kingdom's population is now under the age of 14, and how the youth are alternatively absorbed into the system or marginalized depends upon not only simple economic factors, but also tribal and sectarian affiliation which is downplayed or masked by the regime. The under-represented among average Ḥijāzi youth who do not sense affiliation with the Wahhābi trends of the Najd as well as minority sects including Shīʿah in the Eastern Province and Ismāʿīlis is in the ʿAsīr are increasingly coming to identify with transnational groups outside the Kingdom, and whether the ruling family – which itself is facing a potential crisis of succession – can successfully maintain national unity which would entail genuine reform and a reduction in the role of Wahhābi elements as well as economic reform remains to be seen. The traditional strategies that have relied on garnering the loyalty of the population through subsidies of electricity and such like have worn thin, as has the supposition that the Āl Saʿūd as ostensibly the ūlī al-amr and custodians of the two Holy Shrines of Mecca and Medina ought to receive unquestioning loyalty.

This content is only available via PDF.