FM 21 Feb reportedly said govt is prepared to send ground troops to Syria to fight alongside U.S. Special Forces assisting rebel Syrian Democratic Forces. Govt 16 Feb said it had arrested eighteen people including fifteen Saudis from four Islamic State cells suspected of providing shelter to wanted militants and recruiting fighters in capital Riyadh and eastern and northern regions.
From Saudi Arabia's establishment in 1932, its minority Shiite population has been subject to discrimination and sectarian incitement. Beginning in the early 1990s, with then Crown Prince Abdullah's active support, the government took steps to improve inter-sectarian relations.
Saudi Arabia is at a critical stage in both its struggle against terrorism and its on-again, off-again efforts at reform, and Islamism is at the heart of both.
The Saudi regime faces one of the more difficult phases in its history. Fearful of change, accustomed to a system in which it holds enormous power and privileges, the ruling family may consider any serious reform a risk not worth taking.
Originally published in The Daily Star
Originally published in Chicago Tribune