Saudi Arabia and Algeria

Alan Johnston presents wit and analysis from BBC correspondents around the world. In this edition: Michael Buchanan on political stasis in Saudi Arabia and Kevin Connolly on some unexpected cultural links in Algeria.

Saudi Arabia - carrots and sticks

For the rulers across the Arab world, these are difficult days. Explosions of discontent have already transformed Egypt and Tunisia. The Libyan and Syrian regimes are battling to survive. Leaders elsewhere watch warily the mood beyond their palace walls. But so far - on the surface at least - Saudi Arabia has seemed largely unaffected by all this. So why is that?

On a recent visit, Michael Buchanan has been reflecting on the underlying currents that shape the Saudi national psyche, and finding there may be less appetite for change than outsiders might suppose.

Tarzan in the Casbah

Algeria, like Saudi Arabia, is a vast, oil-rich and largely desert Arab state. But it is a very different place indeed from Saudi Arabia. It's recently endured years of violent instability. And earlier this year, at the start of the Arab Spring, there were demonstrations. The nation's youth, in particular, have expressed impatience with the situation at home, and a yearning to be more rather than less like the outisde world.

Our correspondent Kevin Connolly has just begun to try to figure out this complicated country - but the last thing he expected was to stumble upon one of his childhood heroes.

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10 minutes

Last on

Wed 25 May 2011 03:50 GMT

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