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Authors: Christopher Davidson

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After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies

BOOK: After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies
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AFTER THE SHEIKHS

 

‘It is almost forty years since the publication of Fred Halliday’s landmark book
Arabia Without Sultans
. Now, in the wake of the Arab spring, another young British academic has written an important account of prospects for the Gulf region … Orientalist special pleading doesn’t get a look in. This is an unsentimental story of hard-nosed political calculation, conspicuous consumption, opaque budgets and sovereign wealth funds.’

Ian Black,
The Guardian

‘What is the secret of the Gulf monarchies’ survival? There are numerous reasons. The support of Western powers, oil wealth and an effective secret police are among them. But in this exceptionally argued book, Christopher Davidson concentrates on the prime reason: the Gulf monarchies enjoy considerable legitimacy from their populations. … This fine-tuned monarchical resilience, Davidson argues, cannot be sustained for much longer. Immense internal pressures are building up and the pressure-cooker is about to explode. Davidson marshals an impressive array of evidence.’

Ziauddin Sardar,
The Independent

‘Britain and the US are uncritical friends of the hereditary Gulf rulers; but what if they are likely to collapse, as Christopher Davidson convincingly predicts? It would be folly to ignore the writing on the wall for these insatiably greedy elites; Davidson’s warning should be on the desk of every Foreign Office Minister.’

Lord Avebury, vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group

‘Davidson argues that the Gulf regimes will be gone—at least in their current form—within the next two to five years. This audacious prediction should not be lightly dismissed. The dynamics he analyses and the facts he has gathered, based on long-term observation of the region, provide tantalising clues that profound change may indeed be at close hand.’

Dirk Vandewalle, Associate Professor of Government, Dartmouth College


After the Sheikhs
is a book of tremendous value. It applies a rigorously constructed theoretical framework to a rich array of empirical data in order to assess the long-term survivability of some of the world’s last authoritarian holdouts. For anyone interested in understanding the post-2011 Middle East, this is essential reading.’

Mehran Kamrava, Director of the Center for International and Regional Studies, Georgetown University, Qatar

‘At a time when the Gulf Kingdoms arrogantly boast of having avoided the fate of their neighbours in the revolutions of the Arab Spring, this book provides a convincing counter-narrative and a powerful warning to rulers who treat their countries as personal fiefdoms.’

Waleed Abu Alkair, head of Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia

‘This book must be read by every Western policymaker betting on the status quo in the GCC, by every pro-democracy activist struggling to realise Davidson’s predicted outcome, and by every GCC citizen dreaming of a better future but made to fear the worst if change was to come.’

Ala’a Shehabi, writer, pro-democracy activist, founder, Bahrain Watch
AFTER THE SHEIKHS
The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies
CHRISTOPHER M. DAVIDSON

Oxford University Press, Inc., publishes works that further Oxford University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education.

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Published by Oxford University Press, Inc
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Published in the United Kingdom in 2013 by C. Hurst & Co. (Publishers) Ltd.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Davidson, Christopher M. (Christopher Michael)
After the sheikhs : the coming collapse of the gulf monarchies / Christopher Davidson.
p. cm.
Summary: “Noted Gulf expert Christopher Davidson contends that the collapse of these kings, emirs, and sultans is going to happen, and was always going to”
— Provided by publisher.
ISBN 978-0-19-933064-5 (hardback)
1. Persian Gulf States—Politics and government—21st century. 2. Saudi Arabia—Politics and government—21st century. 3. Monarchy—Persian Gulf States. 4. Monarchy—Saudi
Arabia. I. Title.
JQ1840.D38 2013
320.9536—dc23
2013014438

1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2

Printed in India
on Acid-Free Paper

CONTENTS
Preface and Acknowledgements
Acronyms
Introduction
The revolutions that never came
Explaining monarchical survival
Further explanations
1. State Formation and Economic Development
Origins of the Gulf monarchies
Britain and the early order
Independence and state formation
Economic development trajectories
2. Explaining Survival—Domestic Matters
Distributing wealth
National elites
Co-opting expatriates
Cults of personality
Heritage and history
Co-opting religion
Environmental credentials
3. Explaining Survival—External Matters
Development assistance and international charity
Active neutrality: peacekeeping and mediation
Soft power in the West: strategic investments and development assistance
Soft power in the West: cultural institutions
Soft power in the West: financing universities and manipulating research
Soft power in the East: China and Japan
4. Mounting Internal Pressures
Resources, populations, and subsidies
Voluntary unemployment
Squandering wealth
Poverty and real unemployment
Discrimination, statelessness, and sectarianism
Censorship and limiting expression
5. Mounting External Pressures
Welcoming foreigners and eroding legitimacy
Western bases and armaments
Antagonising Iran
Israel: the unholy alliance
Division and disunity
Interference and coups d’état
6. The Coming Collapse
Evolving opposition
Modernising forces
Countering the Arab Spring: the wrong side of history
Bahrain: rage and revolution
Oman: protests and promises
Saudi Arabia: the cracks appearing
Kuwait: ‘The People’s Spring’
United Arab Emirates: opposition emerges
Qatar: champion or charlatan?
Conclusion
Postscript
Notes
Bibliography
Index

PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I began researching and writing
After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies
in summer 2009 from the confines of my temporary office at Kyoto University. The original idea for the book, however, occurred to me back in 2002, when I was still writing up my PhD. Intrigued by several frank and discreet discussions when living in the UAE’s northernmost emirate of Ra’s al-Khaimah, I was determined to burrow beneath the hype and gauge the true extent of loyalty to traditional monarchies in such states, especially in communities with less favourable economic circumstances. Since then, much has changed in the region, with oil price shocks, credit crunches, property bubbles, terror campaigns, rampant sectarianism, and of course full blown revolutions on its doorstep. Although largely unforeseen and at first difficult to understand, I found that most of these events and their associated impacts helped to strengthen my thesis and—more importantly—they strengthened my resolve to finish the manuscript as soon as possible. Although the book was never intended to be a crystal ball it is worth noting that the original, 2009 version forecast the collapse of most of the Gulf monarchies within the next decade. In contrast, this final 2012 version contends that most of these regimes—at least in their present form—will be gone
within the next two to five years
.

A very large number of individuals deserve my thanks. Over the past few years they have provided encouragement, fact-checking, fascinating pieces of information, and—on occasion—some necessary criticism. These include academics, human rights and pro-democracy activists, members of several political societies and religious organisations, government employees from all six gulf monarchies and neighbouring states, and of
course a small army of concerned citizens and expatriates. I am also very thankful to the following universities for inviting me to give lectures on earlier, prototype versions of this book: the London School of Economics, Oxford, St. Andrews, Yale, Stanford, and Otago. The feedback I received from such well-informed audiences undoubtedly helped me shape my thoughts.

Above all I thank my indefatigable publisher, Michael Dwyer, and all of his team at C. Hurst & Co.

ACRONYMS

 

 

 

 

ADBIC

Abu Dhabi Basic Industries Corporation

ADEC

Abu Dhabi Executive Council

ADFAD

Abu Dhabi Fund for Arab Development

ADFD

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development

ADFEC

Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company

ADIA

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority

ADNCC

Abu Dhabi National Consultative Council

ADNOC

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company

AQAP

Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula

Aramco

Arabian American Oil Company

ATP

Association of Tennis Professionals

Bapco

Bahrain Petroleum Company

BCHR

Bahrain Centre for Human Rights

CENTCOM

US Central Command

CEO

chief executive office

CIA

Central Intelligence Agency (of the US)

CNPC

China National Petroleum Corporation

COM

Council of Ministers (of the UAE)

DIC

Dubai International Capital

DIFC

Dubai International Financial Centre

DLF

Dhofar Liberation Front

DPW

Dubai Ports World

EAD

Environmental Agency Abu Dhabi

ECHR

Emirates Centre for Human Rights

EDB

Economic Development Board (of Bahrain)

EMAL

Emirates Aluminium

ENOC

Emirates National Oil Company

EPPCO

Emirates Petroleum Products Company

F1

Formula One

FIFA

Fédération International de Football Association

FNC

Federal National Council (of the UAE)

FTA

free trade agreement

GCC

Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf

GDP

gross domestic product

HH

his highness

HIV

human immunodeficiency virus

HRH

his royal highness

ICBC

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

ICC

International Criminal Court

ICD

Investment Corporation of Dubai

IDEX

International Defence Exhibition (of Abu Dhabi)

IMF

International Monetary Fund

IPIC

International Petroleum Investment Company (of Abu Dhabi)

IPC

Iraqi Petroleum Company

IRENA

International Renewable Energy Agency

ISP

internet service provider

JAFZ

Jebel Ali Free Zone (of Dubai)

JETRO

Japan External Trade Organisation

JODCO

Japan Oil Development Company

KAUST

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

KCIC

Kuwait-China Investment Company

KFAS

Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences

KFAED

Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development

KIA

Kuwait Investment Authority

KIPCO

Kuwait Projects Company

LSE

London School of Economics and Political Science

NYU

New York University

ODA

official development assistance

OECD

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

OPEC

Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries

P&O

Peninsula and Orient Steam Navigation Company

PDRY

People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen

PFLOAP

Popular Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arabian Gulf

PRC

People’s Republic of China

PGA

Professional Golfers Association

PIN

personal identification number

QIA

Qatar Investment Authority

QPC

Qatar Petroleum Company

QSI

Qatar Sports Investments

QE2

Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise liner

RAND

Research and Development Corporation

SABIC

Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corporation

SCR

Supreme Council of Rulers (of the UAE)

Sinopec

China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation

SMS

short message service

SPC

Supreme Petroleum Council (of the UAE)

TDIC

Tourism and Development Investment Company (of Abu Dhabi)

UAE

United Arab Emirates

UCL

University College London

UK

United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)

UN

United Nations

UNDP

United Nations Development Programme

UNESCO

United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation

UNICEF

United Nations Children’s Fund

UNRWA

United Nations Relief and Works Agency

UNSC

UN Security Council

US

United States (of America)

USSR

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

VAT

value added tax

WTO

World Trade Organisation

ZCCF

Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up

BOOK: After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies
9.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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