Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Reform in the Middle East Oil Monarchies

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Reform in the Middle East Oil Monarchies

Article excerpt

Reform in the Middle East Oil Monarchies. Edited by Anoushiravan Ehteshami and Steven Wright. Reading, U.K.: Ithaca Press, 2008. 309 pp. $54.50.

The six Persian Gulf monarchies - Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman - have for decades been undergoing sustained economic development that was matched by little if any political reform. Reform in the Middle East Oil Monarchies argues that this situation has changed. By far the most interesting essay is the introduction by Gerd Nonneman, which argues that the growing wealth of the local business communities is leading to emerging "post-rentier" dynamics in which statecontrolled oil revenues are no longer the sole source of wealth. He goes on to describe the "liberalization without democratization" that each ruling family hopes to accomplish.

Successive essays look at reform by country. The essays by locals, on Oman and Kuwait, are short and thin. Those on Dubai and Saudi Arabia analyze economic reform in depth. They are interesting - full of information and sound analysis - but largely avoid the more difficult issue of what impact economic development will have on political life. …

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