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Saudi Arabia and the Politics of Dissent [Paperback]

Mamoun Fandy
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 3 2001
Few books on Saudi Arabia deal with primary sources in examining internal Saudi dissent. In contrast, Saudi Arabia and the Politics of Dissent relies on field work and the analysis of more than 100 taped sermons by Saudi Islamic activists, examining their personal backgrounds, their rhetoric, and their strategies. Mamoun Fandy traces the evolution of Islamic opposition in Saudi Arabia, focusing on the Gulf War and its aftermath and scrutinizing the works of Safar al Hawali and Salman al-Auda. He also documents the history of the Shi`a Reform Movement and its leader, Sheik Hassan al-Safar, of Mohammed al-Mas`ari and his Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights, of Sa'd al-Faqih and the Movement of Islamic Reform in Arabia, and finally the radical Usama bin Laden and his organization. By analyzing the Saudi opposition’s use of modern technologies of communication and discussing the ways in which supposedly fundamentalist thinkers have been influenced by global debates and events, this book contributes significantly to the theoretical debate on domination and resistance in the current age of globalization and postmodernity.

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Product Description

Review

...this [is a] well-researched, intelligent and readable book...full of astute observations. Middle East Policy

About the Author

Mamoun Fandy is Professor of Politics at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University. He spent two years in Saudi Arabia researching this book.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
To understand the complex dynamics of Saudi dissent, we must understand the context in which this oppositional politics takes place. Read the first page
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Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great. Accurate. Insightful. April 8 2004
Format:Paperback
This was an incredible book. I stumbled across it mistakenly when doing research on the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism for my Conflict in World Politics class last term.
Fandy aptly disentangles and eradicates many of the commonly perpetuated myths of Islamic Fundamentalism and the entire "terrorist" movement, now. [For instance, it's said, time and time again -- both explictly and inadvertently -- that a major incentive to terrorists has been grounded in "failed" or "missed" prosperity, when in all reality, the majority of the 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, a country inherently overflowing with opulence and prosperity because of its abundance in natural resources: oil.]
The "terrorist" agents of 9/11 were well-educated, well-off young men with full lives ahead of them. The ring leaders of much of contemporary Islamic Fundamentalism are more often than not Western-educated, well-off, seasoned, wealthy men with doctorates.
We're not dealing with a group of scorned poor people. The real driving force behind Islamic Fundamentalism has less to do with money and more to do with morale and issues of cultural validity, not to mention issues of perceived power, and so on...
I can go on and on, but all in all, it was a really good book. Fandy does not -- or at least I don't believe so -- seek out to write a "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tells Them" book. Not at all...it's much more scholarly, though when he lays down the bare facts...you begin to see how lots of popular political rhetoric is little more than rubbish for the under-educated masses.
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Scholarly, watertight July 22 2003
Format:Paperback
I read this book for a class on contemporary politics of the Middle East. Fandy's analysis of religious dissent in Saudi Arabia is in-depth and based on numerous primary sources. Instead of posing the regime as inexorably evil (or virtuous!), the author brings to bear some remarkable insights to explain how the House of Saud has attained a remarkable ascendancy over a region where familialism and kinship are ingrained into society.
While the lay reader could get sidetracked by some esoteric political science terms (e.g. the author should have defined 'the political economy of signs'), overall the style of writing is clear and reasonably paced. My only major disappointment was the tight focus on RELIGIOUS opposition by figures such as Al-Auda and Bin Laden - royal dissent was not mentioned.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Saudi Arabia.
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars as heard on Fresh Air (NPR) 9/27/01 Sept. 28 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The author of this book is one of the wisest voices around with an extremely broad and thoughtful perspective on the forces behind and surrounding the tragedy of September 11. While the book is not as related to the incident as his interview, his knowledge and feeling for how and why these groups act is second to none.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Cutting-edge scholarship Sept. 18 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Dr. Mamoun Fandy offers a new and challenging view of the contemporary scene in Saudi Arabia, where protest groups are using various modern means in their attempt to subvert the current Sa'ud regime. Fandy brings up new ideas that have not before been discussed, and offers a fresh examination of the phenomenon of protest movements in the Middle East. Such cutting-edge scholarship is a welcome departure from the dated and useless body of material offered up by the old-school dinosaurs of Middle Eastern political science (M. Hudson, etc.).
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cutting-edge scholarship Sept. 18 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Dr. Mamoun Fandy offers a new and challenging view of the contemporary scene in Saudi Arabia, where protest groups are using various modern means in their attempt to subvert the current Sa'ud regime. Fandy brings up new ideas that have not before been discussed, and offers a fresh examination of the phenomenon of protest movements in the Middle East. Such cutting-edge scholarship is a welcome departure from the dated and useless body of material offered up by the old-school dinosaurs of Middle Eastern political science (M. Hudson, etc.).
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scholarly, watertight July 22 2003
By "maslam5" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read this book for a class on contemporary politics of the Middle East. Fandy's analysis of religious dissent in Saudi Arabia is in-depth and based on numerous primary sources. Instead of posing the regime as inexorably evil (or virtuous!), the author brings to bear some remarkable insights to explain how the House of Saud has attained a remarkable ascendancy over a region where familialism and kinship are ingrained into society.
While the lay reader could get sidetracked by some esoteric political science terms (e.g. the author should have defined 'the political economy of signs'), overall the style of writing is clear and reasonably paced. My only major disappointment was the tight focus on RELIGIOUS opposition by figures such as Al-Auda and Bin Laden - royal dissent was not mentioned.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Saudi Arabia.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars as heard on Fresh Air (NPR) 9/27/01 Sept. 28 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The author of this book is one of the wisest voices around with an extremely broad and thoughtful perspective on the forces behind and surrounding the tragedy of September 11. While the book is not as related to the incident as his interview, his knowledge and feeling for how and why these groups act is second to none.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great. Accurate. Insightful. April 8 2004
By D. Steele - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This was an incredible book. I stumbled across it mistakenly when doing research on the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism for my Conflict in World Politics class last term.
Fandy aptly disentangles and eradicates many of the commonly perpetuated myths of Islamic Fundamentalism and the entire "terrorist" movement, now. [For instance, it's said, time and time again -- both explictly and inadvertently -- that a major incentive to terrorists has been grounded in "failed" or "missed" prosperity, when in all reality, the majority of the 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, a country inherently overflowing with opulence and prosperity because of its abundance in natural resources: oil.]
The "terrorist" agents of 9/11 were well-educated, well-off young men with full lives ahead of them. The ring leaders of much of contemporary Islamic Fundamentalism are more often than not Western-educated, well-off, seasoned, wealthy men with doctorates.
We're not dealing with a group of scorned poor people. The real driving force behind Islamic Fundamentalism has less to do with money and more to do with morale and issues of cultural validity, not to mention issues of perceived power, and so on...
I can go on and on, but all in all, it was a really good book. Fandy does not -- or at least I don't believe so -- seek out to write a "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tells Them" book. Not at all...it's much more scholarly, though when he lays down the bare facts...you begin to see how lots of popular political rhetoric is little more than rubbish for the under-educated masses.
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