So I've been trying to gather information from friends I have in Saudi Arabia. The outlook definitely does not look good, and in fact, if the worst case scenario occurs it could be hellish. I asked an American friend who lives in Jeddah about the situation, and he said people are not happy. The general mood, he says, seems to be extremely pessimistic. Nearly no body is happy with the government, be that muslim extremists, liberals, or ordinary Saudi on the street. The muslim extremists don't like the government because they see it as having been tainted too much by Western influence and not religously strict enough. The liberals see it as an undemocratic, despotic regime, and the ordinary Saudi on the street sees as a corrupt family that views everyone as its servants.
The more worrying thing, however, is the viewpoint of a Lebanese person who in Saudi Arabia. He has been there for twenty five years, and his message was to get the hell out of there. Even he decided that now is the time for him to leave. Why? He says he remembers the mood and situation in Lebanon before the civil war kicked off, and he said Saudi Arabia resembles that nowadays. People are tense, depressed, and unsatisfied.
If this is remotely true, it is catastrophic. To be fair, it does sound like a bit of a remote worst case dooms day scenario, but just the fact that some people think this way is worrying. If studying economics teaches you anything, it's the effect that expectations can have on people. Even if things in reality are not as bad as what people think, peoples own thoughts, expectations, and outlooks can shape up the reality, and can actually make the reality turn into what they expect.
If the situation does deteriorate rapidly in Saudi Arabia, this spells chaos for the whole gulf. Let's face it, Saudi Arabia makes up 85% of the population, size and economy of the Arabian Gulf. If the doomsday case does occur, it will have severe repercussions throughout the whole region.
Again, hopefully this scenario is way too pessimistic and unrealistic. Even if it does occur, the Saudi government does have a history of being able to ruthlessly put down those with an opposing viewpoint.
Arabic regimes have a reputation for ruthlessly and oppressively putting down any dessidents. Maybe this is one case where this ruthlessness could be an advantage.