My FP column this week takes a look at the growing crackdown by the monarchs of the Gulf on perceived "insults." I argue that their campaign is a clear signal of their declining power and legitimacy: confident leaders don’t need to arrest people for criticizing them. It’s another manifestation of the inability of traditional authoritarian regimes to control or tolerate the rapidly transforming new Arab public spheres — and one which poses unique challenges to the monarchies, which have invested so heavily in the notion that they command a distinctive legitimacy and respect. Once again, this is why I don’t buy the popular notion that the Gulf monarchies have somehow avoided the Arab uprisings — look beneath the surface of regime survival, and it’s obvious that public politics across the GCC are changing rapidly and in potentially unpredictable ways.
So go on over to the main page and read "The Kings of Cowardice."