Mr Nicolai Due-Gundersen

Research project: How do Arab Leaders Legitimize their Rule through Public Discourse within the Context of the Arab Spring?


It is this author's belief that republics will emphasize the socio-economic ruling bargain as the main source of their non-democratic legitimacy in response to the Arab Spring, due to most republics being the result of coups rather than established familial rule. As a result, many republic rulers have weaker ties to traditional (religious) institutes and popular support and rely on a ruling bargain to maintain legitimacy. Monarchs, on the other hand, will draw on Religious Legitimacy more than the ruling bargain due to their longevity and ties to traditional institutions and accepted socio-cultural norms. A rhetorical analysis of select speeches given by leaderships in response to the Arab Spring will allow the author to understand to what extent each leadership relies on the ruling bargain. This analysis will also attempt to understand if the ruling bargain is more common than Religious Legitimacy and hence more relied upon for regime security. Comprehending the nature of the ruling bargain in each case study can allow the author to investigate how each leadership rhetorically justifies its social contract with its citizens and to what extent this contract regards citizens as apolitical and/or compliant subjects of the state. The notion of obedience to authority within a social contract can be linked to Fabienne Peter's Beneficial Consequences, allowing this project to explore non-democratic factors of legitimacy. In turn, this understanding of the contract from specific speeches can help elucidate why certain protests transformed into revolutions that overthrew leaderships.    

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: How do Arab Leaders Legitimize their Rule through Public Discourse within the Context of the Arab Spring?
  • Research supervisor: Dr Atsuko Ichijo


I am a PhD candidate at Kingston University, London after four years in the Middle East. My thesis specialises in non-democratic governance and the Arab Spring. I am former adviser to the Arab Institute for Security Studies (ACSIS) Amman, Jordan, author of Privatization of Warfare (Intersentia: Cambridge) and have appeared on Al Jazeera, Radio Sputnik and Voice of Islam.

March 2016, Swiss Embassy in Jordan, Amman

Consultant, Private Military Companies in MENA

  • Invited by Swiss Embassy to lead discussions on PMCs and MENA politics with Romanian and Swiss Defence Attachés  
  • Discussed published book, PMC operations against ISIS and provided cultural insight on political segregation in Jordan
  • March-May 2017 The Hague, Netherlands, Judge, ICC Moot Court Competition
  • June 2015-August 2016, Amman, Jordan, Lecturer, Research Methodology, Oval Training Centre
  • November 2012-July 2013 Amman, Jordan, Researcher, Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Centre (JICRC)
  • 2013 Jordanian Parliamentary Elections: First hand observatory experience

Areas of research interest

  • Arab Spring
  • Non-democratic legitimacy
  • Welfare states
  • GCC
  • Qatar
  • Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
  • Oil and gas
  • Private military companies


  • Level 3 Certificate, Modern Standard Arabic (Fusha) Qasid Arabic Institute, Amman, Jordan
  • MA International Relations, Geneva School of Diplomacy, Switzerland
  • BA, English Literature, Kingston University


  • 'Never Mind Oil, Libya could Supply Europe with Solar Power'; Oil Price (CNBC Partner Site), April 2013
  • Tamoil: Libya's Stagnating Business Arm (Advance Publication); Oil, Gas & Energy Law Intelligence Journal (OGEL), April 2013
  • 'Bahrain: Tourism, Investment and the Arab Spring'; Geopolitical Monitor, April 2013
  • 'Norway's Energy Future: Balancing Oil Welfare with Globalization'; Geopolitical Monitor, May 2013
  • 'Division or Attraction: An Overview of Libya's Future after Gaddafi'; Geopolitical Monitor, May 2013
  • Fuel after the Arab Spring: Libya's Tamoil versus Kuwait's Q8 (Advance Publication); Oil, Gas & Energy Law Intelligence Journal (OGEL), June 2013
  • 'The Status of Private Military Companies: When Civilians and Mercenaries Blur'; Small Wars Journal, July 2013; The New Jurist, May 2014 (
  • 'Jordan's crossroads in the Arab Spring'; Open Democracy, August 2013
  • Jordan's New Oil Sector: The Cyber Age of Hydrocarbon Security (Advance Publication); Oil, Gas & Energy Law Intelligence Journal (OGEL), August 2013
  • 'Iraq's Oil Police'; Journal of Energy Security, September 2013
  • 'The Cracks of Peaceful Regime Change: Piercing the Veil of the Tinoco Arbitration and the Doctrine of Odious Debts'; The New Jurist, April 2014
  • 'Securing the Barents Region: Norwegian-Russian Strategies'; The New Jurist, April 2014
  • 'The Ethics of State Monopolization of Force'; The New Jurist, June 2014
  • 'Nationalism in Jordan: king, tribe, or country? Part One'; Open Democracy, January 2017
  • 'Nationalism in Jordan: king, tribe, or country? Part Two'; Open Democracy, January 2017
  • 'Patriotism from fragmentation: the personal nationhood of Oman'; Open Democracy, June 2017
  • 'How the GCC Blockade Reignited Qatar's Nationalism'; Lobe Log Foreign Policy, Sept 2017
  • 'Kuwait's economic interest in mediating the Qatar-Gulf crisis'; The Conversation, Oct 2017
Jump to: Article | Book | Thesis
Number of items: 4.


Due-Gundersen, Nicolai (2013) Is Libya's energy future green? Geopolitical Monitor, ISSN (online) 1927-3045

Due-Gundersen, Nicolai (2013) Tamoil : Libya's stagnating business arm. Oil, Gas and Energy Law, 5, ISSN (online) 1875-418X


Due-Gundersen, Nicolai (2016) The privatization of warfare and inherently governmental functions. Cambridge, U.K. : Intersentia. 210p. ISBN 9781780683799


Due-Gundersen, Nicolai (2020) Defending dictatorship across North Africa, the Levant and the Gulf : the non-democratic legitimacy of Arab presidents and monarchs during the Arab Spring as understood through qualitative discourse analysis. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .

This list was generated on Sat May 25 05:35:26 2024 BST.

Conference papers

  •  Jordan's New Oil Sector: The Cyber Age of Hydrocarbon Security (Advance Publication); Oil, Gas & Energy Law Intelligence Journal (OGEL), August 2013