Saudi Arabia provides a clear, concise yet analytical account of the development of the Saudi state. It details the country's historical and religious background, its oil rentier economy and its international role, showing how they interact to create the dynamics of the contemporary Saudi state. The development of the state is traced through three stages: the formative period prior to 1962; the centralization of the state and the initiation of intensive economic development between 1962 and 1979; and the re-shaping of the state over the years since 1979. Emphasis is placed on the recent period, with chapters devoted to: the economic and foreign policy problems which now confront the state the linkages between Saudi Arabia and Islamic radicalism, with the relationship/conflicts involving Al Qaeda traced through from events in Afghanistan in the 1980s the impact of 9/11 and the 2003 Gulf War the identification of major problems facing the contemporary state and their solutions. Saudi Arabia provides a unique and comprehensive understanding of this state during a crucial time. This book is essential reading for those with interests in Saudi Arabia and its role in Middle Eastern politics and on the international stage.