Problems of Succession in the GCC States

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Abstract

The noted remarkable capacity of the Gulf ruling families to mobilise external and internal
sources of power seems to have reached its limits. Gulf rulers also seem aware that they have
lost the advantages associated with their special regional role throughout the Cold War era.
The geo-political context within which they have operated has altered throughout the 1990s.
Furthermore, decades of economic mismanagement, endemic corruption and wasteful
expenditure have greatly reduced the basis of their infrastructural powers. The effects of
fluctuating oil revenues have exasperated the financial woes of the Gulf monarchies and their
domestic and foreign debts.
This paper is an attempt to put succession issues in the text of the emerging new order in the
Gulf region. It also considers how this evolving situation may become more precarious in
light of the unresolved succession issues in all the Gulf monarchies. Politically ambitious
members of domestic elite groups as well as disgruntled factions of each ruling family may
find in these developments new political opportunities to improve their political positions.
The ruling families of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are already experiencing pains of searching
for successors to their ageing monarchs. While Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE, and most of its
constituent Emirates, do not face immediate pressures of replacing their reigning monarchs,
they must grapple with other fallouts of succession problems and family feuds. And, finally,
there is Oman whose childless monarch, though relatively young, has yet to publicly name a
successor.
2005 – WS 13 – Khalaf 22 pages
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)

Keywords

  • UAE
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Qatar
  • Oman
  • Kuwait
  • Bahrain
  • GCC
  • Succession

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