Nightly News | April 12, 2011
>>> and we are hearing tonight from saudi arabia , a nation that has a lot at stake as change rocks across the arab world . late last week on this broadcast you'll recall tom brokaw reported that the saudi arabian monarchy is so unhappy with the obama administration for the way, as they see it, it pushed out mubarak that they sent senior officials to china and russia to seek expanded business opportunities with those countries. continuing his reporting there over this past weekend, tom was given rare access inside the kingdom. here now his report from riyadh.
>> reporter: saudi arabia is the richest and most powerful country in the arab world , hugely important to the u.s. because of its oil reserves , and now surrounded by populist rage on all sides. a sunni country, it is the home of mecca, the birthplace of islam, and takes pride in its orderly society. even so, there have been protests by the country's shiite minority against saudi rule. but they were quickly put down. saudi's king abdullah surprised almost everyone by sending his country's military into bahrain to suppress shiite demonstrations in that country. the king and other saudi officials are known to be un unhappy with the obama administration for forcing egyptian president mubarak out so quickly. but until my weekend interview with prince saud, the foreign minister, there has been no public comment.
>> the evidence is overwhelming now that people are demanding more change and a greater voice at a faster pace.
>> reporter: and the influence of the united states on saudi affairs? recently, king abdullah spent $125 billion among workers, the military, and for housing, a giveaway that prince saud insists was long planned and not an attempt to buy loyalty. when king abdullah spread all that money around, it didn't hurt his standing with the saudi people, of course. but then in fairness to him, he's always been a very popular monarch.
>> we have good country, we have a safe country, and we trust the government about what going to do.
>> reporter: the kingdom is quiet for now, still pumping oil every day and talking about reform. even so, he emphasized that saudi arabia will not be rushed into change.