By Prof. Curtis R. Ryan
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It may be too early to know if dynastic rule will become a trend. But it appeared to be the case that, before his overthrow, Saddam Hussein had intended for one of his sons to succeed him. Similarly, despite protests to the contrary, both President Mubarak in Egypt and Colonel Qadhafi in Libya have at least established the groundwork for a succession from father to son. My point in this discussion, however, is not to dwell on regime type, but rather to focus more generally on how these regimes (republics and monarchies alike) maneuver between domestic and external challenges, and how this process affects inter-Arab alliances and alignments.
Even the wealthiest Arab states have shown signs of domestic unrest and opposition. Such opposition took violent turns beginning in the late 1990s and the early 21st century in oil states ranging from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia itself. In sum, despite their wealth, the Arab Gulf states are in no way exempt from the security dynamic examined here. They are, in fact, just as likely as 36 / Chapter 2 their poorer Arab neighbors to be victims of the same cycles of regime insecurity. Opposition charges against the assorted royal families and against the military-bureaucratic regimes of the Arab world range in terms of specifics, but in a broader sense they look quite similar: they all focus on what they perceive to be economic, political, and moral corruption.
They are, in fact, just as likely as 36 / Chapter 2 their poorer Arab neighbors to be victims of the same cycles of regime insecurity. Opposition charges against the assorted royal families and against the military-bureaucratic regimes of the Arab world range in terms of specifics, but in a broader sense they look quite similar: they all focus on what they perceive to be economic, political, and moral corruption. In short, internal opposition groups throughout the region, whether secular or Islamist, are tapping into deep reservoirs of domestic discontent.