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Thursday, 2 February 2012
My article in Jadaliyya: Tribalism in the Arabian Peninsula: It's A Family Affair
Across the Arabian Peninsula and stretching well into North Africa and Sudan, there is a common bond, perhaps only behind religion and language in importance, that binds Arabic language speakers together. Museums across the Gulf proudly display lineage maps illustrating the family trees of ruling members, linking them through lines and photos from bygone centuries up to the current leader. Major financial institutions in Dubai and Bahrain display in their offices large-scale maps detailing prominent ruling family members of the Gulf States and their marital, government, and business affiliations. Tribalism in modern day Arabia is alive and well. In this article, I highlight recent developments to illustrate how those in power in the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula use tribalism, and how, sometimes, it is used against them.