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Dr Toby Matthiesen :The Gulf States and the Arab Uprisings: Counter-Revolution and Sectarianism

When faced with rising political challenges in early 2011, the Gulf states -- Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in particular -- mobilised sectarianism in order to suppress domestic calls for reform, a strategy that I analyze in my recent book Sectarian Gulf: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the Arab Spring that Wasn't.Following on from the sectarian logic, and by a desire to weaken Iran and its allies, the Gulf states became the key backers of the opposition in the Syrian civil war. At the same time, however, they spearheaded counter-revolutionary efforts across the region, most prominently in Egypt. During this talk I will explore how the internal political dynamics of the Gulf states, and the growing demands for reform, determined the different reactions by Gulf governments both at home and abroad, a reaction that is shaping the regional fallouts from the Arab Uprisings.

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Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies