After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies

The Gulf monarchies (Saudi Arabia and its five smaller neighbours: the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain) have long been governed by highly autocratic and seemingly anachronistic regimes. Yet despite bloody conflicts on their doorsteps, fast-growing populations, and powerful modernising and globalising forces impacting on their largely conservative societies, they have demonstrated remarkable resilience.

Obituaries for these traditional monarchies have frequently been penned, but even now these absolutist, almost medieval, entities still appear to pose the same conundrum as before: in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring and the fall of incumbent presidents in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, the apparently steadfast Gulf monarchies have, at first glance, re-affirmed their status as the Middle East’s only real bastions of stability. In this book, however, noted Gulf expert Christopher Davidson contends that the collapse of these kings, emirs, and sultans is going to happen, at least in their present form, and was always going to. While the revolutionary movements in North Africa, Syria, and Yemen will undeniably serve as important, if indirect, catalysts for the coming upheaval, many of the same socio-economic pressures that were building up in the Arab republics are now also very much present in the Gulf monarchies. It is now no longer a matter of if but when the West’s steadfast allies fall. This is a bold claim to make but Davidson, who accurately forecast the economic turmoil that afflicted Dubai in 2009, has an enviable record in diagnosing social and political changes afoot in the region.

Publishers’ websites: Hurst & Co. / Oxford University Press

Translated versions: Arabic (full electronic download available here); Farsi

Table of contents: available here

Excerpt (chapter 2 – ‘Explaining Survival – Domestic Matters’): available here

Reviews and features:

Foreign Policy Association – Most Significant Books of the Year (2013)

Oxford University Press Blog – Five Academic Books that Changed the World

The Guardian – review

The Independent – review

The Economist – review

Tribune Magazine – review

Huffington Post – review

Bloomberg – review

International Affairs – review

Arabian Humanities – review

Middle Eastern Studies – review

Contemporary Arab Affairs – review

H-Net – review

Heythrop Journal – review

El-Badil News – review (Arabic)

Al-Akhbar – review (Arabic)

Ettelaat – review (Farsi)

Foreign Policy – excerpt

Foreign Affairs – excerpt

Project on Middle East Political Science – author interview (video)

Oxford Union – author presentation (video)

George Washington University – author lecture (video)

BBC Hard Talk – author interview (video)

Friday Times (Pakistan) – On the Bookshelf

Sudan Vision – Christopher Davidson and the Black Swan

The Page 99 Test – After the Sheikhs