…from beneath the crooked bough, witness 230 years of brutal tyranny by the al Khalifas come to an end
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Toward preserving Western Hegemony, dressing up “constitutional monarchy” as “democratic reform”

Arab Monarchies: Surviving the Revolts
By: Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi – 3 November, 2011

In the mid 20th century a majority of Arabs lived in monarchical states, some dating as far back as several centuries. However, by the 1960s, the monarchies of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Iraq and Yemen had transformed into republics. Today, eight Arab monarchies remain, namely, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Qatar and the Sultanate of Oman.

The reason some Arab monarchies ceased to exist varies from popular revolutions to military coups. However one feature they shared is their lack of ability to adapt to the changing geopolitical environment of surrounding countries from South Asia to Africa, gaining their independence and empowering their people as well as their own citizens.

The need to adapt to a changing environment is now more necessary than ever. The 2011 popular Arab uprisings that are spreading throughout the region will affect every single country in the region, if not in the short term then several years down the line. For instance, citizens of nominal republics such as Sudan will not continue to tolerate their dictators while they witness history being made by their Egyptian neighbors preparing to vote in the next few months. The eight Arab monarchies, even those whom, as I have argued earlier, have scored highly on human development reports will similarly have to face new realities that are taking shape both within their borders and in the region.

Due to the varied nature of these monarchies such an evolution into constitutional monarchies will likely occur in three cycles. The first cycle will include Kuwait, Jordan and Morocco, the second Bahrain and Oman, and the third Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

Setting up constitutional monarchies has been attempted in the past. Half a century ago, as Arabs were rising up against their governments and mere months after it gained its independence from Britain, Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem unveiled a constitution that even today, is decades ahead of both Arab monarchies and republics alike. The constitution guaranteed Kuwaitis freedom of religion, speech and the press. Additionally, while enshrining a role for the Emir, it specifically stated that Kuwait’s system of rule is democratic with an elected assembly.

The managing editor of a Gulf based English newspaper told me he believes that the current controversial Prime Minister of Kuwait, Sheikh Nasser Al Sabah (71), will be the last premier to be appointed directly by an emir and the last to be chosen from the royal family. Sheikh Nasser was forced to resign by opposition MPs six times since his appointment in February 2006. Rhetoric that is not often heard used against members of Gulf ruling families is casually employed against Sheikh Nasser, with news wires quoting an MP at a recent 10,000 strong rally demanding his sacking describing him as “incompetent,” and saying that he “cannot be trusted”. These are some of the reasons that indicate Kuwait will likely be the first Arab monarchy to officially transform into a constitutional monarchy. …more

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