Dealing with the Challenges: GCC Institutional Responses to the Covid-19 and Arab Spring
Like it happened after the Arab Uprisings in 2011, a development originated outside the GCC region-the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic-directly affected all its members and required a quick reaction from the authorities. The responses from the GCC governments to the 2011 uprisings were a combination of institutional, redistributive, and repressive measures to guarantee the stability of the political elites and regimes. With similar motivations, the Covid-19 pandemic demanded even more strategic responses that could guarantee the continuity of the economic models and the social contracts that are at the core of the state formation in the GCC. This chapter analyzes the mechanisms and institutional changes that every GCC state implemented to tackle the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in comparison with the GCC responses after the Arab Uprisings. The logic of compassion between the two events lies in the fact that both Arab Uprisings and Covid-19 are the biggest challenges that originated outside the region and threatened political, social, and economic order in the Gulf monarchies. While the pandemic is still an active development, and despite the slowing down of the infection and death rates and the extended vaccination policies, the findings of this chapter are still provisional. Yet, they expect to shed light on the regime survival strategies and the learning process that all the GCC governments are passing through in order to guarantee the resiliency and durability of the existing socio-economic and political models.