The transformation of Arab monarchies into constitutional systems is a matter ofwhen rather than if. The alternative may be less appealing to those in power today. On a recent visit to Boston in which I met a number of Arab Gulf states students, the debate veered, as it tends to do nowadays, towards Arab constitutional monarchies. To my surprise it was a Qatari, a citizen of by far the richest county on earth often accused of political apathy who remarked to a friend and I, “I don’t agree with constitutional monarchies,” he paused, “I want nothing less than a republic.”
Without urgent non-cosmetic reform the Arab monarchies will simply be kicking the reform ball forward.