From an excellent article by Thomas Friedman:
'The Saudi ruling bargain is an old partnership between the al-Saud tribe and the Wahhabi religious sect. The al-Saud tribe get to stay in power and live however they want behind their palace walls, and, in return, the followers of the Wahhabi sect get to control the country’s religious mores, mosques and education system.
The Wahhabis bless the Saudi regime with legitimacy in the absence of any elections, and the regime blesses them with money and a free hand on religion. The only downside is that this system ensures a steady supply of “sitting around guys” — young Saudi males who have nothing other than religious education and no skills to compete — who then get recruited to become 9/11-style hijackers and suicide bombers in Iraq.
No one explains it better than the Saudi writer Mai Yamani, author of “Cradle of Islam” and the daughter of Saudi Arabia’s former oil minister. “Despite the decade of the West’s war on terror, and Saudi Arabia’s longer-term alliance with the United States, the kingdom’s Wahhabi religious establishment has continued to bankroll Islamic extremist ideologies around the world,” wrote Yamani in The Daily Star of Beirut, Lebanon, this week.'