http://www.news.com.au/world/middle-eas ... ac38c6b180
The King doesn't get all the say, Government is dominated by the vast royal family, the Al Saud, which has often been divided by internal disputes and into factions. According to at least some observers, traditionally, issues such as
- "foreign policy, national defense, and international affairs have been "the purview of the state" in Saudi Arabia,
- "justice, education, and family matters", being related to religion, had been handled by "the religious establishment".
Not only is royal succession subject to the approval of the ulema, so are all new laws (royal decrees). The ulema have also influenced major executive decisions, for example the imposition of the oil embargo in 1973 and the invitation of foreign troops to Saudi Arabia in 1990. It plays a major role in the judicial and education systems and has a monopoly of authority in the sphere of religious and social morals.
However, in recent years, "the Saudi state has been working to reclaim control of these areas."