GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
First Name:
Title of Paper:
Gulf Security Policy after the Arab Spring – Considering Changing Security Dynamics
Paper Proposal Text :
The protests and revolutions sweeping across the Arab world since 2011 have been a demonstration of the newly acquired confidence of the individual within the Arab world to express its thoughts and desires. What some started to call civil-society, is a phenomenon that might redefine the relationship of the individual towards its society, its state and the transnational sphere of the Arab umma. This article intends to develop a conceptual link between the changing nature of societal-state relations and the nature of security in the Gulf amid the ‘Arab Spring’. This conceptual framework will be applied to Qatar and Bahrain as two case studies for understanding the nature of security in the Gulf post-2011. With the individual increasingly empowered through transnational networks and media, the academic debate on security in the Gulf has to evolve from narrowly defining security from a realist point of view as national or state security. In order to be able to conceptualize the long-term effects of the individual’s empowerment on security in the Gulf, one has to redirect the conceptual focus to a more liberal understanding of security as individual security.

In adopting a liberal normative approach to security, this article advances the argument that security in the Gulf post-2011 ought to be public rather than private in nature. That is to say, while security in the Gulf has traditionally been a private good provided for the benefit of the regime often at the expense of the public security of all individuals within a society, security after the ‘Arab Spring’ ought to be public in nature. Based on the premise that the individual in the Gulf, and the Arab world as a whole, more than ever feels entitled to public security, stability and regime security depend on the state being able to provide security as an inclusive public good. It follows, that when Gulf States fail to provide security, in terms of physical, social and economic security, inclusively as a public good, regime security appears to be threatened as well. Instead of looking at public and private regime security as a trade-off, this article argues that as a result of the ‘Arab Spring’, regime security increasingly depends on public security. The conceptual framework will be applied to both Qatar as arguably the most stable Gulf country, and Bahrain, as arguably the most unstable Gulf country, in an effort to determine to what extent both states are willing or able to provide security inclusively as a public good. Further, looking beyond the dichotomy of private and public security, this article will consider Qatar’s and Bahrain’s contribution to shaping security in the transnational sphere of the umma and its impact on public security at home.