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21st century Bedouin politics: Considering the modern power of tribes in the Arabian Peninsula (Courtney Freer, Brookings)

Tribal identities and affiliations remain important social and political markers in the modern and urbanized nations of the Arabian Peninsula. Yet, in such environments, which differ greatly from those in which tribes originated, it has become increasingly difficult to define what exactly is “tribal.” Certainly, the tribe is less in evidence as a tangible political structure than in the pre-oil boom era — yet its influence is still felt in the political institutions of the state, as well as in social life more generally and even in state-sponsored national heritage and identity projects. In a new book, “Tribalism and Political Power in the Gulf: State-Building and National Identity in Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE,” Alanoud Alsharekh and I analyze the role of the tribe in the politics in those three wealthy oil states.

21st century Bedouin politics: Considering the modern power of tribes in the Arabian Peninsula (brookings.edu)