Future of the Gulf States

November 1, 2011 • Volume 5, Issue 21
Can the monarchies survive in a changing region?
By Jennifer Koons


Finance ministers from the oil-rich Gulf states of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (AFP/Getty Images/Karim Sahib)
Finance ministers from the oil-rich Gulf states of Saudi Arabia (Ibrahim al-Assaf, right) and the United Arab Emirates (Hamdan bin Rashed al-Maktoum, left) arrive in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi on May 7, 2011, to discuss economic development with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) ministers. The GCC is awash in oil cash, which the monarchies are spending on public projects to keep regional unrest from spreading to their countries. (AFP/Getty Images/Karim Sahib)

Known for their towering, ultramodern skyscrapers and jaw-dropping energy reserves, the six Arab monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are striving to improve regional stability amid the turmoil of the Arab Spring. The economic and security coalition — made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — celebrates its 30th anniversary this year with huge fiscal surpluses that are financing, among other things, construction of state-of-the-art facilities for higher education and international sporting events. However, the six Sunni-led Muslim countries — key U.S. military allies — face ongoing unrest from a Shiite majority in Bahrain, uncertainty about the intentions of Shiite regimes in neighboring Iran and Iraq and an unstable Yemen, home to Al Qaeda-linked terrorists. The GCC countries also are struggling to balance their overdependence on foreign labor with the need for more jobs for their huge, youth populations.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Oil and Gasoline Prices
Jun. 22, 2012  U.S. Oil Dependence
Nov. 01, 2011  Future of the Gulf States
Jan. 04, 2008  Oil Jitters Updated
Jul. 2007  Energy Nationalism
Sep. 30, 2005  Domestic Energy Development
Jan. 24, 2003  Oil Diplomacy
Aug. 07, 1998  Oil Production in the 21st Century
Aug. 23, 1991  Oil Imports
Oct. 30, 1987  Persian Gulf Oil
Apr. 04, 1986  Oil Prices
Dec. 23, 1983  Quest for Energy Independence
Sep. 23, 1983  OPEC: 10 Years After the Arab Oil Boycott
May 29, 1981  Western Oil Boom
Aug. 25, 1978  Oil Imports
Feb. 10, 1978  Oil Antitrust Action
Dec. 17, 1976  Alaskan Development
May 17, 1974  Arab Oil Money
Mar. 15, 1974  Oil Taxation
Jul. 18, 1973  Offshore Oil Search
Mar. 28, 1973  Persian Gulf Oil
Nov. 01, 1972  Gasoline Prices
Oct. 14, 1970  Fuel Shortages
Nov. 12, 1969  Alaskan Oil Boom
Dec. 11, 1968  Oil Shale Development
Oct. 26, 1960  World Oil Glut
Sep. 10, 1958  Middle East Oil
Oct. 30, 1951  Oil Nationalization
Aug. 11, 1950  Oil Imports
Apr. 23, 1947  Oil of the Middle East
Jan. 22, 1946  Offshore Oil
Mar. 09, 1944  Oil Supply
Dec. 24, 1935  Oil in World Politics
May 07, 1931  Control of Production in the Oil Industry
Mar. 27, 1929  The Oil Leasing Policy of the New Administration
Jun. 08, 1927  Oil Conservation and Stabilization
Feb. 08, 1926  The Mexican Land and Petroleum Laws
Apr. 18, 1925  The Price of Gasoline
Feb. 11, 1924  Background of the Oil Lease Cases
Sep. 01, 1923  Gasoline
Regional Political Affairs: Middle East and South Asia