André Bank / Thomas Richter / Anna Sunik

Long-Term Monarchical Survival in the Middle East: A Configurational Comparison, 1945–2012

GIGA Working Paper, No. 215, February 2013

Abstract
The survival of eight monarchies during the “Arab Uprisings” of 2011 has put center stage the fundamental question about the durability of this subtype of authoritarian regime. Seen from a broader historical perspective, however, the idea that monarchies have an inherent advantage in retaining power is less evident: a number of authoritarian monarchies broke down and subsequently became republics (Egypt 1952, Iraq 1958, North Yemen 1962, Libya 1969, Iran 1979), while others survived (Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE). To account for these divergent long‐term pathways we compare the 13 current and former Middle Eastern monarchies, as well as their different trajectories. Using a fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA), we concentrate on five central explanatory factors derived from previous research on Middle Eastern monarchies – namely, US military support, rent revenues, family participation, the monarch’s claim to legitimate rule and anti‐government protest. Our findings support the existence of two broad pathways to monarchical survival – linchpin monarchies, like Jordan and Morocco, versus the dynastic Gulf monarchies – and also reveal a possible third pathway, one which shares linchpin characteristics, but relates to cases on the Arabian Peninsula (Oman, the historical Imamate in North Yemen, and Saudi Arabia).

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GIGA Authors

Dr André Bank is a senior research fellow at the GIGA Institute of Middle East ­Studies. He was formerly the speaker of the International Diffusion and ­Cooperation of Authoritarian Regimes (IDCAR) research network, which was funded by the Leibniz Association from 2014 to 2019. His research focuses on authoritarianism, conflict dynamics, and regional order in the Middle East.

Dr. Thomas Richter

Senior Research Fellow
Editor GIGA Focus Middle East

Dr. Thomas Richter is a senior research fellow at the GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies, and a member of the GIGA’s “Accountability and Participation” and “Power and Ideas” research programmes. His current research topics include authoritarian regimes, rentier state theory, shrinking civic spaces, and policy diffusion.

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