Police and protesters clashed in Saudi Arabia Thursday and the country faces a day of possible mass protests Friday, but even heavy demonstrations will not succeed in removing the current regime, according to analysts at the Eurasia Group.
“The house of Saud will survive the short term … (Thursday’s skirmish) does not threaten the regime and will not impact oil output,” the analysts said in a note.
Friday’s protest participants “unlike protesters in Tunisia, Egypt, and Bahrain – will not be chanting, ‘the people demand the fall of they system,’” the Eurasia report said.
"The majority of Saudi opposition figures want reform within the existing system," the analysts added.
One of the areas of planned protests, Qatif, is located close to a major pipeline.
But “it is unlikely… protesters will try to sabotage energy infrastructure… doing so would not cut output for long and would invite a devastating response from the government,” the analysts said.
“Things could get complicated if the Saudi security forces overreact,” but this is unlikely as the majority of protesters are asking for change to the existing system, not total reform.
“The Saudi government has both resources and determination… there are steps the regime can take to placate some protesters,” the analysts said, adding, “mass protests do not automatically equal regime demise.”