In the 21st century, the monarchies of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE – the group of countries constituting the GCC – have emerged as one of the most dynamic and fast-changing regions of the world. These countries have strengthened their position as global hubs for financial transactions, investments, air travel, shipping, diplomacy, sport and, increasingly, also art and culture. They have profoundly transformed their cities, as symbolised by the rise of Dubai and other Gulf cities such as Doha, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah. Almost all of this was fuelled and made possible by revenues from oil and gas, the price of which was historically high since the mid-2000s and stayed at very high levels until a sudden crash in mid-2014.
‘Conservative Monarchies in a Transforming Region’, in: Valeria Talbot, The Rising Gulf: The New Ambitions of the Gulf Monarchies (Milan: Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale, 2015), 13-26.
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