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Sectarian Gulf book discusses long-term problems for region

Gulf autocrats weathered the Arab uprisings. But in spreading sectarianism to do so they created longer-term problems for the oil world’s most important region, Toby Matthiesen argues in his new book

For a few heady months in 2011 it seemed that the popular uprisings in the Middle East and north Africa would demolish not just the regimes of Tunisia’s Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Libya’s Muammar Qadhafi, Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, but also uproot Bahrain’s ruling Khalifa family and even threaten the reign of the region’s most powerful rulers, the Sauds. Then came the autocrats’ counter-revolution. In March 2011, Gulf Cooperation Council troops, led by Saudi Arabia, rolled down the King Fahd causeway linking Khobar with Manama, a show of strength designed to frighten Bahrain’s protestors and quell their rebellion. The Saudi tanks marked “the end of the first, very

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