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Rebellion and Repression on the Arabian Peninsula

Fred Lawson, Mills College

Spectacular mass movements have emerged in Bahrain and Yemen to challenge the political order on the Arabian Peninsula. What background conditions—political, economic, religious and ideological—lay behind these protests?  How have they evolved, and what has limited their success?  To what extent have ethnic/tribal and confessional divisions shaped these struggles, and the responses to them by the ruling elites?  The Saudi regime has moved time and again to defend the status quo in the Gulf.  How should we understand that regime’s socio-political character and its interests, domestically and internationally?   What part has been played by the United States?   What has been the place of oil?  These are some of the fundamental issues that our presenters will address in assessing the development and likely future of these centrally important revolutions. 

Fred Lawson is the chair of the Department of Government at Mills College. He is the author, among other works, of Constructing International Relations in the Arab World (2006) and Bahrain: Modernization of Autocracy (1

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