Tag Archives: Reform

Taxation, Bahrain’s Alternative Path to Reform

Commentary by Hasan Alhasan – 1 November 2011

Bahrain's Crown Prince. Source: bloomberg.com

The decades long adage of “no representation without taxation” that seemed to underpin the way governments have interacted with their citizens in the Gulf region soon may no longer be valid in the tiny island kingdom of Bahrain. In August, the government announced it was studying the highly unpopular option of introducing a corporate tax on companies, a valued-added tax on products and a cut in public subsidizations of consumer goods to cover the growing budget deficit. The country’s Crown Prince Shaikh Salman Al-Khalifa – a modernizing figure within the country’s ruling family – is intent on decreasing Bahrain’s economic dependence on oil and thus on Saudi Arabia. It is estimated that in 2010 oil revenues coming in from the shared Saudi oil field of Abu Safah as subsidy represented up to 67% of Bahrain’s budget revenue. Continue reading

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Filed under Arab Spring, Bahrain, English, Gulf states

“Democratization” in the Gulf? Saudi and Emirati Style

Commentary by Riccardo Dugulin – 8 October 2011

Semantics matters. International media and commentators have a negative propensity to easily depict the Gulf Monarchies, and especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as absolutist systems. Such a definition does not take into consideration the active political life and inter-familial distinct tendencies that shape the policy-making process of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. In Kuwait and Bahrain voters have concrete constitutional powers and the month of September witnessed elections in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These facts should not be over interpreted, as none of the Gulf Monarchies may be coined as liberal democracies. Continue reading

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Filed under English, Gulf states, Saudi Arabia

Syria’s Winds of Radical Change

Commentary by @LeShaque  – 8 June 2011

The winds of change have been blowing throughout the Middle East in what has become known as the Arab Spring. In a region that has known little change over the past few decades, people are taking to the streets demanding improvement of their living standards. Not surprisingly, as their lives are more or less the same as they were in the 1950s. These hopes for change came into direct conflict with the regimes’ desire to maintain the status quo that has kept them in power all this time. Continue reading

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Filed under Arab Spring, English, Lebanon & Syria