Hanieh makes a valuable contribution to understanding recent events in the Middle East by dissecting the differences within and between various members of the Western allied Gulf Cooperation Council and the US Empire.
Western interests in the region are now largely articulated through the Gulf states in both a political and an economic sense. This does not mean that there are no rivalries or differing perspectives between the Gulf and Western states, or within the Gulf itself, but these rivalries need to be situated within a framework of shared interests that recognizes that the Gulf’s location at the apex of regional hierarchies is a consequence of the same processes that have generated the conditions for mass revolts in the first place.
These dynamics can be seen clearly in Egypt and Syria. In both countries, uprisings against authoritarian regimes have similar roots — the dispossession and exclusion of the majority of the population as a result of neoliberal reform, and the enrichment of a tiny layer of elites closely connected to authoritarian regimes, overlaid by a global crisis that considerably deepened the polarization of wealth and power.