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Contentious Politics in the Middle EastPolitical Opposition under Authoritarianism$
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Holger Albrecht

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813034744

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813034744.001.0001

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Islamist Engagement in Contentious Politics

Islamist Engagement in Contentious Politics

Kuwait and Bahrain

(p.156) 8 Islamist Engagement in Contentious Politics
Contentious Politics in the Middle East

Michael Schmidmayr

University Press of Florida

This chapter deals with the Islamist opposition in the small Arab Gulf states, using the examples of Kuwait and Bahrain. The underlying question is to find out how Islamists operate within a given authoritarian setting, how they adapt to the system, and how the system adapts not only to their activities but also to their very existence. Kuwait and Bahrain are host to two of the region's most active political scenes. Both have some degree of parliamentary tradition: a rather long one in Kuwait, but which has been disrupted several times; and a more short-lived one in Bahrain, which was resumed after 2002. Both systems have produced major phenomena of political opposition. And they present interesting demographic patterns: a vast Shi'i majority in Bahrain, where the country has been ruled by Sunnis for a little more than two centuries, and a Sunni majority in Kuwait with a Sunni ruling family.

Keywords:   Kuwait, Bahrain, Islamists, authoritarian setting, Shi'i majority

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