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

Anna Sunik, Dr. des., studied political science, Islam studies, and ethnology and is an associate of the GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies. She completed her doctoral dissertation on the topic “Monarchic Peace? Foreign Policy and Identity of Middle East Monarchies” at the University of Heidelberg in 2017. Her research interests include Middle East politics, with a particular focus on the Gulf monarchies and Jordan as well as the analysis of autocratic foreign policy.

Dr. André Bank

Acting Director of the GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies

Dr. André Bank is a senior research fellow at the GIGA Institute of Middle East ­Studies. His research focuses on authoritarianism, conflict dynamics, and forced migration, as well as on knowledge production in the social sciences and area ­studies.

Dr. Thomas Richter

Senior Research Fellow
Editor GIGA Focus Middle East

Dr. Thomas Richter is a senior research fellow at the GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies and a member of GIGA’s “Accountability and Participation” and “Power and Ideas” research programmes. He researches authoritarian regimes, rentier state theory, and policy diffusion, and is also one of the project leaders of the International Diffusion and Cooperation of Authoritarian Regimes (IDCAR) network, funded by the Leibniz Association.

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