Bahrain, yes. The Kingdom, not so much. In MANY regards, Saudi Arabia is even more backwards than Iran. Iran has a flourishing, though underground, hipster culture. That is to say, that there is a HUGE student population that is much less inclined to theocracy than their counterparts in Saudi. Iran, especially Tehran, is remarkably cosmopolitan (relative to the region). There is nothing cosmopolitan in The Kingdom.
The only thing enlightened about Saudi (and this may have been your point), is that they aren't waging open war on Israel, although the wahhabism that dominates the Sunnis in Saudi, probably is the most virulent and violent form of Muslim extremism.
I realize the problems in Saudi Arabia related to Wahhabism. It is dominant.
What I think you guys are missing, is that when it comes to per capita income, life expectancy, and a few other markers like education, Saudi Arabia is better than other nations in the region.
You seem somewhat dismissive of the fact that Saudi Arabia’s leadership hasn’t been anti-Israel or the West. This has translated to more peace in the region, a leadership that has represented our interests in regional pow-wows. When Opec met, Saudi Arabia was a moderating factor.
What happens if the Royals are tossed there, and the new leadership decides China is a better prospect for oil sales?
Bahrain is the number one oil exporter. Saudi Arabia follows close behind.
If those two nations went Muslim Brotherhood, you’d quickly find out how nice it was having the royals in charge.