The Gulf States: From Tribal Sheikhdoms to Sustainable States

Rolf Schwarz

in War and State Building in the Middle East

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780813037929
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813042138 | DOI:
The Gulf States: From Tribal Sheikhdoms to Sustainable States

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This chapter deals with the history of state making without war making, looking at the small oil states of the Gulf region and including a detailed study of the United Arab Emirates. Oil discoveries after World War II first put the UAE and its oil-producing neighbors on the international map and served as a bridge for contacts with the rest of the world. Territorial control of the tribal hinterland, the establishment of a state administration, and the fixing of land and sea boundaries became important issues. Since then, oil wealth has enabled the creation of infrastructure and ongoing development, as well as the creation of an extensive state apparatus. Oil revenues thereby consolidated state structures in the absence of war making, which was never employed as a strategy of state making. Welfare provision in the UAE has today become sustainable enough that even during periods of declining natural resources (as in the case of Dubai) or during fiscal crisis (as in the 1980s or 2007), the state is able to fulfill its welfare commitments. In creating a sustainable rentier structure, the UAE managed to break the linkage between declining resources and rising demand for political participation.

Keywords: oil wealth; embedded authority; governance; Oman; Saudi Arabia; United Arab Emirates; Bahrain; Kuwait; Qatar

Chapter.  8671 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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