Political Liberalization in the Persian Gulf

Overview

The countries of the Persian (or Arab) Gulf produce about thirty percent of the planet's oil and keep around fifty-five percent of its reserves underground. The stability of the region's autocratic regimes, therefore, is crucial for those who wish to anchor the world's economic and political future.

Yet despite its reputation as a region trapped by tradition, the Persian Gulf has taken slow steps toward political liberalization. The question now is whether this trend is part of ...

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Overview

The countries of the Persian (or Arab) Gulf produce about thirty percent of the planet's oil and keep around fifty-five percent of its reserves underground. The stability of the region's autocratic regimes, therefore, is crucial for those who wish to anchor the world's economic and political future.

Yet despite its reputation as a region trapped by tradition, the Persian Gulf has taken slow steps toward political liberalization. The question now is whether this trend is part of an inexorable drive toward democratization or simply a means for autocratic regimes to consolidate and legitimize their rule.

The essays in this volume address the push toward political liberalization in the Persian Gulf and its implications for the future, tracking eight states as they respond to the challenges of increased wealth and education, a developing middle class, external pressures from international actors, and competing social and political groups.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

Replete with useful insights and valuable information for both scholars and practicioners...recommended.

From the Publisher

"Replete with useful insights and valuable information for both scholars and practicioners...recommended. "--Choice

"One of the strongest edited collections of essays on political liberalisation and reform in the Gulf monarchies and their closest neighbours, Iraq and Iran...The volume's greatest strength is perhaps its ability to convey to the reader that these Gulf states, especially the monarchies, are not a homogenous collection of traditional polities surviving simply by means of oil rents and distributive economic systems...These differing circumstances have led to important variations in the speed of political reform, with Bahrain leading the way, with Kuwait seemingly stalled, and with Saudi Arabia far behind. It is also pleasing that discussions on Iran and Iraq are included, as developments in the monarchies do not take place in isolation of the two largest and most populous Gulf states."--Dr. Christopher Davidson, University of Durham

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231700863
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 8/3/2009
  • Series: Columbia/Hurst Series
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Joshua Teitelbaum is senior fellow at Tel Aviv University's Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies and visiting associate professor at Stanford University's Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law.

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Table of Contents

The Contributors

Understanding Political Liberalization in the Gulf: An Introduction
Joshua Teitelbaum

Part I. REGIONAL DETERMINANTS OF POLITICAL LIBERALIZATION IN THE GULF

1. Liberalization and its Limits in the Gulf States
Joseph Kostiner

2. Economic and Political Liberalization: Views from the Business Community
Jill Crystal

3. Labor and Liberalization: The Decline of the GCC Rentier System
Onn Winckler

Part II. COUNTRY STUDIES

4. Saudi Arabia: Why the 'Ulama Are Stalling Liberalization
Muhammad al-Atawneh

5. Kuwait: Slouching toward Democracy?
Mary Ann Tétreault

6. Kuwait: The Obstacle of Parliamentary Politics
Michael Herb

7. Bahrain: Reform, Promise and Reality
J.E. Peterson

8. Qatar: Liberalization as Foreign Policy
Elisheva Rosman-Stollman

9. Oman: 'Say Yes to Oman, Say No to the Tribe!'
Uzi Rabi

10. The United Arab Emirates: Economy First, Politics Second
Christopher M. Davidson

11. Iraq: The Battleground of Representation
Ofra Bengio

12. Iran: The Clerical Debate on Democracy and Islam
Meir Litvak

Index

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