The Political Economy of Arab Presidents for Life - and After


Owen, Roger. 2013. “The Political Economy of Arab Presidents for Life - and After.” Middle East Development Journal 5 (1): 1350001 (13 pages).


The system of personalized Arab presidential power based on a strong security state had its origins in the assertion of national sovereignty in the dangerous post-independence world of the 1950s and 1960s. and then becoming more monarchical in character over time, including the attempt to perpetuate itself by passing power on to the ruler's son. Key to this development was the appearance around each ruler of a small group of crony-capitalists who used their privileged access to secure state monopolies which they then schemed to protect after the ruler's death. Both developments, that of family dictatorships, as well as their associated corruption and cronyism, can then be used to account in large measure with the uprisings associated with the Arab 'Spring'.