How Oil And Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia By Toby Craig Jones

2189 words - 9 pages

The Middle East has been a central topic of discussion over the past decade, majority of which have been under a negative light. In particular, Saudi Arabia has come into the spotlight due to the recent increase of gas and oil prices. Typically the country has been observed through the lense of Islam and its economics of oil. Aside from these basic components that directly relate to the political affairs of the country internally and internationally, other aspects that also contribute are usually overlooked. Toby Craig Jones in his Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia presents to us a different stance on its history of environmental power as well as the formation of the modern Saudi Arabia state as we know it today. It allows the readers to expand their knowledge of Saudi Arabia politically, through other means that is not just the economics of oil, which is a big driving force in the nations success financially and politically. The literature establishes the importance of the exploration of nature and the influence of science and other contributing international bodies who have helped in the formation of its political authority.
Desert Kingdom begins with the explanation and the history of Saudi Arabia’s difficulties in its pursuit to manipulate and control nature. The scarcity of water in the 1970s was a very serious issue for the nation, which lead its government officials to discuss and propose an idea of towing a 100 million ton iceberg from Antarctica to the the Red Sea coast. Throughout the Kingdoms history the ruling family has more than often depended on their success from oil exports to the west and other parts of the world, however its hard to deny that they evenly depended on water and their agricultural exports as well. “The kingdom was not merely a petrostate but also a modern technostate, one in which science and expertise, scientific services, and technical capacity came to define the relationship between rulers and ruled” (Jones, 14). His book stands out as one of many utmost important literatures about the modern Saudi Arabia written in the last decade. Jones's view on Saudi Arabia is that it is a central case for studying the relationship between technical expertise and political authority in the twentieth century (Jones, 234).
The Desert Kingdom tackles the question of how oil and water forged the modern Saudi Arabia by outlining it in seven well written chapters. Starting with the chapter titled nature of the state we understand that the U.S. oil companies were the first to join the campaign who were later identified as the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco). Jones continues with the expansion on the geology and the mapped out borders of the kingdom which was determined by geologist Karl Twitchell. Alongside with anthropologist Federico Vidal who examined the nomads that were drawn to the Aramco’s Ghawar oil and entomologist Richard Daggy who was on the quest to exterminate malaria mosquitoes. ...

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