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After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies

After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies, argues that “traditional monarchy as a legitimate regime type in the region is soon going to reach the end of its lifespan, especially as most of the Gulf states are now caught in a pincer movement of pressures between unsustainable wealth distribution mechanisms and increasingly powerful ‘super modernizing forces’ that can no longer be controlled or co-opted by political elites”.

 

In the last ten years, the people of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have lived through transitions, civil turbulences and civil wars, which creates the necessity of dealing with questions such as: what is the future of the Arab uprisings of 2011, and how will they impact the situation of the monarchies in the region? Considering that these uprisings resulted in the overthrow of many longstanding one-man regimes (i.e. Mubarak in Egypt, Ben Ali in Tunisia and Gaddafi in Libya), one might argue that the Gulf monarchies would eventually succumb to the same fate. Following a similar line of argument, Christopher M. Davidson, in his book After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies, argues that “traditional monarchy as a legitimate regime type in the region is soon going to reach the end of its lifespan, especially as most of the Gulf states are now caught in a pincer movement of pressures between unsustainable wealth distribution mechanisms and increasingly powerful ‘super modernizing forces’ that can no longer be controlled or co-opted by political elites” (p. 240). However, considering that it has been more than seven years since the book was first published and the Gulf monarchies still stand, one can hardly find the book’s main argument nor its scenario for the demise of the Sheikhs convincing.

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