The Arab revolutionary wave that began on December 18, 2010, resulted in the overthrow of dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, massive uprisings in Bahrain and Syria, and major protests in Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, and Iraq. The starting point for understanding the Arab revolution is an overview of the political and economic characteristics of pre-revolutionary Arab societies. The Saudi royal family, controlling a nation of about 27 million, including some five and a half million non-nationals, undoubtedly fears the spread of democracy primarily because it threatens its wealth and power. Most Arab nations have authoritarian governments. Anti-imperialism, opposition to monarchies viewed as imperialist puppets, and fear of threats from Israel and Persian-dominated Iran helped justify authoritarian governments in most Arab republics. A major economic factor that facilitates authoritarianism in some Arab states is economic reliance on exporting oil and natural gas for funding rather than on citizen taxes.