Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis


Political Science

First Advisor

Jerel Rosati

Second Advisor

Donald Puchala


This study examines closely the growing phenomenon of political violence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and discusses the historical, political, social and economic causes behind the phenomenon through an rigorous and through academic analysis. Through this examination, the phenomenon of political violence in Saudi Arabia will be examined through researching the origins and causes of extremism and the mechanisms through which this kind of extremism is expressed. The objective is only to acquire a general idea about the nature of the social, political, economic and psychological milieu in which violence and extremism often develop and to gain a deeper understanding of the scientific determinants and academic interpretations that have addressed the causes and motivations of political violence in the Saudi environment, which is a very different environment from other countries.

Furthermore, this thesis will address the issue of the shaping of the national interest and its association with the Saudi state, the ruling family and the issue of the legitimacy of the regime as it evolved with the evolution of the Kingdom. The study will examine both internal factors, which led to a state of rebellion, disobedience and mutiny against public order, and also the external factors and their impact on exacerbating the phenomenon of political violence.

While attempting to discover the origins of extremism in the Kingdom and exploring the internal and external influences on the Kingdom, this thesis also investigates the various means by which the Saudi regime has attempted to address the phenomenon of political violence while maintaining its formal legitimacy. This is accomplished by examining the efficacy of the corrective and preventive means that the Kingdom utilizes as they attempt to curtail the phenomenon of violence in Saudi Arabia and maintain the precarious balance its government holds as both a political entity and religious center. Thus, this thesis will both shed light on factors that have weakened the traditional legitimacy of the Kingdom while discussing various approaches that address the causes of the ongoing violence, along with examining the efficacy and productivity of these corrective methods.