- By Marc Lynch
Marc Lynch is associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, where he is the director of the Institute for Middle East Studies and of the Project on Middle East Political Science. He is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. He is the author of The Arab Uprising (March 2012, PublicAffairs).
He publishes frequently on the politics of the Middle East, with a particular focus on the Arab media and information technology, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, and Islamist movements.
My FP column this week takes a look at the growing crackdown by the monarchs of the Gulf on perceived "insults." I argue that their campaign is a clear signal of their declining power and legitimacy: confident leaders don’t need to arrest people for criticizing them. It’s another manifestation of the inability of traditional authoritarian regimes to control or tolerate the rapidly transforming new Arab public spheres — and one which poses unique challenges to the monarchies, which have invested so heavily in the notion that they command a distinctive legitimacy and respect. Once again, this is why I don’t buy the popular notion that the Gulf monarchies have somehow avoided the Arab uprisings — look beneath the surface of regime survival, and it’s obvious that public politics across the GCC are changing rapidly and in potentially unpredictable ways.
So go on over to the main page and read "The Kings of Cowardice."