I came across an interesting blog post that reports on the issue of Saudi Identity. It provides a quick gloss of Saudi history in its telling of the problems involved in forging a national Saudi identity. Worth reading.
The Fifth Border, Securing a National Identity in Saudi Arabia
Institut d’études politiques de Paris
This paper was prepared for “Political Sociology of the Contemporary Arab State,” taught by Professor Stéphane LACROIX of the Paris School of International Affairs
SECURITY & IDENTITY IN SAUDI ARABIA
By: Faisal Abdullah Abulhassan
The name “Saudi Arabia” accurately describes the nation’s reigning dynasty and geographic location, but falls short of properly create a correct image of the Saudi people. This is due to the lack of a national identity in the Kingdom amongst its homogeneous population. A union of vastly different regions and peoples, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has thus far come to naught in securing its fifth border – the identity of its citizens. In a world where conflict is no longer limited to the land, sea and sky the formulation of an enduring “Saudi” national identity is essential to the stability, continuity and unity of the Saudi State. By reviewing the historical composition and diverse populations that make up the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, this essay seeks to highlight the bonds that have held the various peoples that are Saudis together. It also seeks to analyse the bonds that have failed. While the Kingdom’s four natural borders in the north, south, east and west are thoroughly protected militarily; it is increasingly vulnerable to internal conflict over who exactly is “Saudi,” as well as to the creation of fifth columns. Therefore, this essay argues it is the Royal Family institutionalised that holds the key to creating, strengthening, and stabilising a national identity for the Saudi people.