skip to main content

COVID-19 Information and Guidance

Webinar — Vision or Mirage: Saudi Arabia at the Crossroads

Saudi Arabia is being transformed by dramatic social, economic and political changes with implications for oil markets, regional stability, and future relations with Israel. King Salman has cracked down on corruption, and his dynamic though inexperienced son, the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, is instituting significant economic reforms and seeking to promote a more tolerant form of Islam. Do all of these changes constitute a new vision for Saudi Arabia, or are they merely a mirage likely to dissolve into Iranian-style revolution? David Rundell — one of America’s foremost experts on Saudi Arabia — answered this crucial question and analyzed the complex history, politics and culture of Saudi Arabia in his recent book, “Vision or Mirage: Saudi Arabia at the Crossroads.” 

At this event, Rundell discussed his book and the important lessons it holds for diplomats, policymakers and journalists. He explained how Saudi Arabia has been stable for so long, why it is less so today and what is most likely to happen in the future. He also participated in a question and answer session moderated by Baker Institute Academic Affairs Director Allen Matusow.

For more information about the book and to purchase a copy, please visit the Brazos Bookstore webpage.

This event was sponsored by the Baker Institute Center for the Middle East. Follow @BakerInstitute on Twitter, and join the conversation with #BakerMiddleEast.



11:00 a.m. — Presentation
11:30 a.m. — Q&A

Featured Speaker

David Rundell served as an American diplomat for thirty years in Washington, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. He is the author of "Vision or Mirage: Saudi Arabia at the Crossroads" (I.B. Tauris, September 17, 2020). Widely regarded as one America's leading experts on Saudi Arabia, he spent fifteen years in the country where he worked at the Embassy in Riyadh as well as the Consulates in Jeddah and Dhahran. His assignments in Saudi Arabia included the chief of mission, charge d'affaires, deputy chief of mission, political counselor, economic counselor, commercial counselor, and commercial attaché. He has numerous awards for his analytical reporting and participated in Operation Desert Storm, Saudi accession to the World Trade Organization and the defeat of Al Qaida's terror campaign. After retiring from the Foreign Service, he spent three years at the Boston-based consultancy Monitor Group before joining Arabia Analytica as a partner. He lives in Dubai and travels regularly to Saudi Arabia.


Allen Matusow, Ph.D.
Baker Institute Academic Affairs Director



Thu, Nov. 5, 2020
11 a.m. - noon
(GMT-0500) US/Central