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House of Saud

I have just finished reading an excellent book called the House of Saud by David Holden. It offers an explicit history of the ruling dynasty of Saudi Arabia and how it came to power and how power is channeled through the intricate network of sons and various other relatives.

My next book will be an equally enlightening book called House of Bush House of Saud, which chronicles the secrete relationship (or not so secret nowadays) between Saudi Arabia and the United States. The more I read, the more I feel confident in portraying the relationship between these two countries as untenable.

I do have some mixed feelings about the subject, though. I think it is all a sordid business, this securement of cheap energy reserves, but I am not sure a President of the United States or a leader of any nation would be able to not participate in this process. In essence, you would be shutting your country down for the sake of principle. Saudi Arabia funds terrorism, or at least funds a variety of militant Islamic sects, but they are being squeezed in a position that they have to appease their Muslim base. There is nothing groundbreaking in what I just said, but I am growing impatient with those who say “why don’t they just become a democracy?” or “why don’t they just stop funding terrorism?” It reveals a real ignorance of the complexity of the situation. And that is not even including Israel into this dangerous discussion.

Regardless, the books are fascinating and well worth a read. The author of the first book, David Holden, was assassinated before he could even finish the thing, even though he was considered decidedly pro-Arab. I hope everyone has a chance to read at least part of these so the conversation in society will be elevated somewhat by something as revolutionary as fact rather than pure conjecture.

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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