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Beyond the Arab SpringThe Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East$
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Mehran Kamrava

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199384419

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199384419.001.0001

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The Persian Gulf Monarchies and the Arab Spring

The Persian Gulf Monarchies and the Arab Spring

(p.313) 11 The Persian Gulf Monarchies and the Arab Spring
Beyond the Arab Spring

Russell E. Lucas

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that in each of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, the ruling bargain has evolved but has not radically changed since the Arab Spring. It analyzes why GCC countries have had fewer and less severe protests than the rest of the Arab world. While the challenges facing the Persian Gulf monarchies are not fundamentally different than those facing other Arab governments, they faced different degrees of popular protest. The chapter also notes that just as the degree and severity of protests has varied in the GCC, the reactions of their monarchs have also differed—and not always in ways proportional to the nature of the protests. Finally, it examines how citizens in the GCC states view the evolution of their countries’ ruling bargains. While there is growing dissatisfaction with the Persian Gulf monarchies, the discontent is contained. The economic safety net from petroleum wealth has kept the floor from falling out on Gulf citizens. This classic “rentier trade-off” of economic wellbeing in return for political quiescence seems to still hold. On the other hand, marginalized groups in the Gulf are sustaining political activity because of new technologies and greater international interest in Arab activism.

Keywords:   rentier trade-off, Gulf monarchies, Gulf Cooperation Council, Persian Gulf, ruling bargains, rentier, Arab Spring

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