Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

Document Type



The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (G.C.C.) represent a unique subset of the Arab world, with many common cultural, political, and economic characteristics. This research project is designed to assess the prospects for future democratization in these oil-rich monarchies. Contrary to many other Arab States, these nations have several advantages that bode well for future liberalization, including small, highly educated populations and vast resources. Several have young, progressive-minded rulers who are competing against each other regionally to be more modern and prestigious and enjoy increased influence. Further, these rulers face tremendous pressure to create jobs and opportunity for their extremely young population. Although most of the G.C.C. rulers will resist sharing power for as long as possible, there is every reason to believe that in order to survive they will have to allow greater political participation. And because they enjoy substantial legitimacy among the people, this opening is more likely to result in greater democratization, not radical Islamist takeover. To be fair, there is certainly a wide range of potential among these states: Oman and Saudi Arabia lag far behind their neighbors, while Kuwait and Qatar have gone farther than the others in increasing participation and accountability in their political systems. There is good reason to be optimistic about the prospects for democratization over the long-term for the G.C.C., a fact which should not be missed simply because they are traditional monarchies.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

William Clark