The oil monarchies of the Middle East have usually been portrayed as patriarchal autocracies dominated by traditional tribal families who have come to encompass the modern states, its institutions and economy. The focus of much discussion about these states since the oil boom of the 1970s has been that oil income has provided their tribal elites with an economic boom and an ability to use `rent' as their primary tool for the pacification of their citizens and for resisting demands for reform. In the light of significant political changes and reforms introduced in the oil monarchies since the late 1990s, it is time to reevaluate our assessment of the oil monarchies' ability to change, to adapt. Empirical data not only supports the view that the oil monarchies are introducing reforms, albeit at a varied speed, but that it is the elites themselves who are emerging as the greatest agents for change.
Ehteshami, A. (2003). 'Reform From Above: The Politics of Participation in the Oil Monarchies'. International Affairs, 79(1), 53-75. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2346.00295