The Middle Eastern Society had the pleasure of hosting Dr Christopher Davidson, author of After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies. Dr Davidson treated us to a detailed yet accessible examination of the political status of the Gulf monarchies and their prospects for the future. The audience was introduced to the idea of Gulf rulers using social bargaining tools such as hand-outs and subsidies to create a culture of reliance on the government. We learnt how history and traditions have been invented to create synthetic notions of national feeling, as well as having our attention drawn to the interplay of religion, culture and tribal ties in the region. Dr Davidson then went on to explain why past predictions about the overthrow of autocratic dictators had been wrong and how he believed that conditions have changed sufficiently for the region to be ripe for revolution. A lively question and answer session then followed. Questions covered issues such as the future of Libya, Saudi Arabia’s military position, prospects for succession in Oman and the West’s possible role in Syria.
Milo Noone (MGHM)