Behind the Kingdom’s Veil: Inside the New Saudi Arabia under Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman
Few of us have firsthand knowledge of who lives, suffers and wields power in Saudi Arabia. Now, Susanne Koelbl, award-winning foreign correspondent for the German news magazine Der Spiegel, takes us on an eye-opening journey Behind the Kingdom’s Veil. Koelbl unlocks the black box of Saudi Arabia and decodes why the country is such a crucial player on the world’s stage. She scrutinizes the dramatic change of the oil-export dependent nation into a vibrant society.
How did religious extremism and oppression of women over the past forty years serve to maintain the power of the House of Saud? To find out, enjoy breakfast with Royal Highnesses and meet Osama bin Laden’s bomb-making instructor. Enter the palaces of secret service chiefs and sit on floor cushions with spirited women who celebrate their new freedoms. Koelbl makes you an eye witness to what it’s like to be a third wife or a dissident and explains how the discovery of oil shaped the kingdom’s history – and changed the world.
As a journalist reporting from conflict zones around the world, Susanne Koelbl travels extensively, with special focus on the Middle East and Saudi Arabia. She recently lived in Riyadh during the most dramatic changes since the country’s founding. Koelbl’s unique gift is to make complicated political and societal contexts accessible and entertaining.
“Excellent introduction to the kingdom” Dr. Bernd Haykel, professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University
“An invaluable street-level perspective” Gerald Feierstein, ambassador to Yemen under the Obama Administration
“It’s like watching a movie – just better”
Dr. Elisabeth Kendall, Oxford University, Senior Research Fellow in Arabic and Islamic Studies
“A brilliant contribution to our understanding of the transformation in Saudi Arabia especially among women.” Bruce Riedel, former CIA official and director of the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institution
Mohamedou Ouls Slahi
Mohamedou Ouls Slahi was born in Rosso, Mauritania. He was an exceptional student in high school and received a scholarship from the Carl Duisberg Society in 1988 to study in Germany, where he earned an electrical engineering degree from the University of Duisburg.
While wrongfully imprisoned in Guantanamo for more than 14 years we wrote the “Guantanamo Diary”, which was published in 2015, while Slahi was still prisoner # 760.
Now Hollywood wants to make a movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jodie Foster about the man who says he’s forgiven his tormentors.
Since his release on October 17th 2016 he lives in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
The Movie: Prisoner # 760 based on Slahi’s book (Jody Foster / Benedict Cumberbatch) will be out in 2021
Oil Powers: A History of the U.S.-Saudi Alliance
Victor McFarland is an associate professor of history at the University of Missouri, where he studies oil, energy, and U.S. relations with the Middle East. He received his BA in History from Stanford University and his PhD in History from Yale University.
His first book Oil Powers: A History of the U.S.-Saudi Alliance was published by Columbia University Press in 2020.
Before joining the University of Missouri, he was a Miller Center fellow at the University of Virginia in 2012-13 and a Dickey Center fellow at Dartmouth College in 2013-14. In 2018-19 he served as a Warren Center faculty fellow at Harvard University.
Oil Powers: A History of the U.S.-Saudi Alliance tells the story of the close but troubled relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Oil Powers traces the growth of the alliance through a dense web of political, economic, and social connections that bolstered royal and executive power and the national security state. McFarland shows how U.S. and Saudi elites collaborated to advance their shared interests against rivals at home and abroad. During the 1970s, as higher oil prices enriched the Saudi government, destabilized the American economy, and changed the balance of power in the Middle East, leaders of both countries responded by consolidating their alliance. Facing objections from their own people, Washington and Riyadh chose to shield their partnership from public oversight and accountability. While American support empowered the Saudi royal family and helped the kingdom expand its influence across the Middle East, Saudi elites also encouraged a rightward shift in U.S. foreign and economic policy―with profound long-term effects. Oil Powers reveals the role of the U.S.-Saudi alliance in laying the groundwork for American military involvement in the Middle East and the entrenchment of a global order fueled by oil.