Next Big Question: What Will Saudis Do?

Op-ed: King Abdullah has difficult choice to make soon
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2011 12:45 PM CST
Saudi children greet the convoy transporting King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz (pictured in background) upon his arrival in the Saudi capital this week.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – One crucial voice has yet to be heard from amid this Arab revolution, observes Jackson Diehl in Washington Post—Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah's regime is clearly nervous about the unrest, especially in next-door Bahrain, which also has a majority Shiite population that lives under Sunni rule. Abdullah will soon have to make a choice, writes Diehl: Does he go the path of Breshnev or Gorbachev?

He could send Saudi troops "to put down the Bahraini Shiites, in what would be an Arab version of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia," writes Diehl. Or he could sit back and allow Bahrain's monarchy to make concessions "while hoping that the democratic infection doesn't spread." An invasion "is a real possibility," but Diehl thinks he's "more likely to embrace the strategy of trying to get ahead of the Arab wave of change before it is too late." Either way, he must decide soon.

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