Beyond greenwashing: Sustaining power through sustainability in the Arab Gulf monarchies

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This article is featured in the ORIENT I 2020

The advanced sustainable development agenda that is taking place in the oil-rich Arab Gulf monarchies is frequently described as a mere ‘greenwash’. From this perspective, the article argues that some Gulf monarchs have strategically exploited the ‘green niche’ in order to foster their grip on power. As ‘adaptable autocrats’ they benefit from the global trend on sustainability and have managed to adjust their policy accordingly.

Tobias Zumbrägel is a researcher at the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) (Germany) as well as PhD candidate at the Chair of Middle East Politics and Society at the Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany). He studied History, Political Science and Middle East Studies in Cologne, Tübingen (Germany) and Cairo (Egypt). Zumbrägel has conducted extensive field research in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. His research focuses on questions of legitimacy, power and state authority in the Middle East with a special interest in environmentalism and digitalisation.

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