If petroleum buys political legitimacy in the Arab Gulf states, how can we explain the rise of dissent and calls for political reform despite sustained oil revenues?.The answer, according to Sean Foley, lies in political, social, and economic dynamics that have been brewing beneath the surface for more than a decade–and that are slowly shifting the balance of political power. Though Foley does not disagree that oil revenues have been important in preserving the power of Gulf autocrats, he goes beyond popular stereotypes to identify other crucial forces that are conspiring to disrupt the status quo. Chief among these are the telecommunications revolution, which has brought news of democracy (as well as regime misdeeds) to people’s homes, the lack of jobs for major segments of the male population, and the increasing economic power of women and minority groups. It is these complex issues, Foley shows us, that are at the forefront as the Arab Gulf states grapple with the challenges of both modernity and money.
Gulf Cultural club
Although the Gulf region had been exposed to the world, especially the West, for more than two centuries, it has remained a “black box” to many. The discovery of the oil in the first half of last century eventually sealed the image of that region. Today it is synonymous with oil, money, western strategic interests,…..etc. what is not known about the Gulf and its people is the fact that the process of education and the exposure to the outside world, together with its deep religious and cultural traditions has transformed the new generations to a new status. Today, there are educated people who have attained the highest degrees in almost all faculties of knowledge.
Native academics, professionals and skilled workers have replaced expatriates in the workforce, and the numerous universities in the Gulf States are staffed by natives. Furthermore, a sense of self-consciousness is fast spreading the region, and many Gulf people have their own aspirations, problems and ability to express themselves in modern terms.
Subscribe to our email newsletter.