The monarchies of the Middle East and North African region have struggled with sustaining their monarchal rule from the 20th Century to the modern day. Many of the citizens pushed for more democratic ideals in their political landscapes, fought against the repressive apparatuses of the state, and demanded economic reforms. These three factors contributed to the significant social unrest that has been seen throughout the MENA region after the 2011 Arab Spring.
The democratic push that was seen in the 2011 Arab Spring threatened many of the authoritarian regimes of the region and started a wave of reforms within the many monarchies of the region. Democratization was seen by many states as a threat to the security and stability of their regimes. They continually pushed back against the democratization movement through repressive means, as seen in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia where they expelled protestors through military actions (Battaloglu and Farasin, p. 305-306). These repressive means quelled the Arab Springs spread in the GCC states but Egypt under Siri or Mubarak struggled to counter the protests demands relating to economic and social reforms (Battaloglu and Farasin, p. 305-306). The Tunisian regime and the Syrian regime under al-Assad did not do well against the Arab Spring uprisings. Tunisia fell quickly and Syria was plunged into a bloody civil war that has continued to the modern day (Battaloglu and Farasin, p. 306). The states attempt to counter the revolutions through violent means failed and resulted in the collapse of their monarchal regimes. Overall the Arab Spring toppled many monarchies but a few monarchies of the region were able to sustain themselves long enough to outlast the movement either through violence or through economic and political concessions was seen in Jordan and Morocco.
Other monarchies attempted to prove their movement towards reform in the political sphere by politically liberalizing their regimes while also proposing and implementing minor economic reforms in response to the demands of the protests (Lucas, p 1140). This was seen in Jordan and Morocco where the monarchies responded to rioters with “economic structural-adjustments” (Lucas, p. 114). Monarchs also spread the blame of the unpopular policies by blaming prime ministers and parliaments for the polices that were in place, while simultaneously aligning themselves with the people to preserve their place in power.
Though many Monarchies fell due to the Arab Spring some were able to maintain their position in power through differing means. These means often depended on the economic capabilities of their state as seen with the repressive methods by the GCC states and the more cooperative means of Jordan and Morocco.