Political Consistency in Arabia - A Comparative Study of Iran and Saudi Arabia
Abstract: The monarchical regimes of the Gulf States have for a long time remained outstandingly consistent. The aim of this thesis is to explain this political consistency by comparing Saudi Arabia with Iran, covering the time period from Muhammed Reza Shah's accession to the throne in 1941 up until the Islamic Revolution of 1979. We agree that regime consistency theoretically depends on the legitimacy of the regime, the existence of preferable options, and the regime's control over state and society. By analysing the economic performance, the ties between the monarchy and the religious establishment, and domestic repression, we conclude that the crucial element in preserving regime consistency in the Gulf-surroundings is to maintain good relations with the religious establishment. In doing so, the regime successfully maintains its legitimacy and simultaneously aggravates the position of oppositional groupings. It is possible that the results of this study may be valid in other countries in the Middle East with similar structural settings.
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