Monday, April 10, 2006

New Saudi King Faces Challenges to Reform - New York Times

New Saudi King Faces Challenges to Reform - New York Times: "RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- The all-black abayas have splashes of bold, glittery color. The book fair opened its doors to once-banned books. And stuffy government-run TV stations have started to play music, forbidden for decades.

In the seven months since Saudi Arabia's new monarch, King Abdullah, took the throne, there have been small but striking signs that he is leading his country toward more openness.

''He wants to turn this nation from a one-way country in which conservatives have the upper hand into a two-way state where both liberals and Islamists can express themselves,'' Saudi analyst Dawood al-Shirian said.

No one expects Abdullah's ride to be smooth, though. He needs to keep the reform momentum going despite reported differences within the royal family over the pace and direction of change."

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