Saudi Arabia: The Kingdom and the Power

Amid reports of dissension, a royal family learns to live with less

In the heat of a summer's day, the highway curving across the desert from the port city of Jeddah to Mecca blurs into a shimmering ribbon of black. As the temperature climbs into the low hundreds, mishaps multiply: the blacktop is so hot that rubber tires explode and send cars swerving. No matter what the season, however, the same message greets travelers only a few miles outside the holiest of Muslim cities. Non-Muslims, the blue-and-white sign warns in English, must now leave...

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