When power grows out of the oil barrel
Can the Gulf’s ruling families survive the post-oil era?
The brutal military crackdowns launched as the Arab Spring spread across Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen in 2011 contrasts sharply with the response most Gulf countries' leaderships took to the uprisings. Instead of soldiers, civil servants were more quietly deployed, armed with generous counter-revolutionary doles in the shape of cash and energy subsidies. Sweeping subsidies and targeted financial inducements—in some cases to the tune of as much as 4pc of GDP—quickly and bloodlessly placated populaces. But, as Jim Krane argues in Energy Kingdoms, the unspoken social contract on which this relies might not last forever. Having spent years in the region as a journalist, he crafts ins