Gulf security: changing internal and external dynamics.
Kuwait Programme on Development, Governance and Globalisation in the Gulf States,
London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.
The concept of ‘Gulf security’ is evolving in response to new challenges which
link internal security to external stability and international events in the region.
Food, water and energy security, managing and mitigating the impact of climate
change, rapidly rising populations and the youth bulge, structural economic
deficiencies and spiralling inflation, and progressive state failure in Yemen, all
require a broad, global and multidimensional approach to Gulf security. While
‘traditional’ threats from Iraq, Iran, nuclear proliferation and transnational
terrorism remain strong, these new challenges to Gulf security have the
potential to strike at the heart of the social contract and redistributive
mechanisms that bind state and society in the Arab oil monarchies.
This paper examines the relationship between ‘traditional’ and ‘new’
security challenges and the ongoing processes of political reform and economic
liberalization and diversification in the Gulf. It explores the way in which
regimes are anticipating and reacting to the shifting security paradigm, and
contextualizes these changes within the broader political, economic, social and
demographic framework. It argues that a holistic approach to security is
necessary for regimes to renew their sources of legitimacy in a globalizing
world of transnational flows and multiple layers of global governance.
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