The most informed voices on Saudi politics are quite often those working there over a long-term period, usually in business of some sort.* When there in that capacity, you are part of the system, and Saudis will interact and engage with you, tell you things etc, in a way that won’t happen with journalists or academics there for a 1 or 2 week visit.
For that reason, I place a very high premium on the opinions of expats in Saudi Arabia for work and mid-level/ rising Saudi managers. A Western reader with elite Arabic skills and who has spent several years in Riyadh for business sent me the below comment after reading my August interview with Greg Gause.
I thought it was too insightful not to share with readers and he graciously allows me to post for RWA readers. Highlights by me:
*Which is also why I consider this book, by an academic, who first worked in Saudi for business, one of the very best books I’ve read on Saudi politics to date.