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Arab states of the Persian Gulf

Arab states of the Persian Gulf

The Arab states of the Persian Gulf refers to a group of Arab states which border the Persian Gulf. There are seven member states of the Arab League in the region: Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Yemen is bound to the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, based on history and culture.

The term has been used in different contexts to refer to a number of Arab states in the Persian Gulf region. The prominent regional political union Gulf Cooperation Council includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. In modern history, various British Empire protectorates, including the Trucial States were Arab states along the Persian Gulf.


Some of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf are constitutional monarchies with elected parliaments. Bahrain (Majlis al Watani) and Kuwait (Majlis al Ummah) have legislatures with members elected by the population.

The Sultanate of Oman also has an advisory council (Majlis ash-Shura) that is popularly elected. In the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven monarchical emirates, the Federal National Council, functions only as an advisory body, but some of its members are now chosen via a limited electoral college nominated by the seven rulers.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains a hereditary monarchy with limited political representation. In Qatar, an elected national parliament has been mooted and is written into the new constitution, but elections are yet to be held. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the two Arab states and absolute monarchies to have never held elections since their respective establishments as nations in 1932 and 1971 respectively. Iraq is the only federal republic situated in the Persian Gulf region.


Freedom of the press

Mass media in the seven Arab states of the Persian Gulf have varying degrees of freedom, with Kuwait topping the league with a lively press that enjoys considerably more freedom than its Persian Gulf counterparts according to Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders. Both organizations rank Kuwait's press as the freest of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf. Kuwait ranks amongst the top three for free press in the Arab world. Qatar and Oman come in second and third respectively within the regional ranks of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.


The seven Arab states of the Persian Gulf lie in a volatile region and their seven governments, with varying degrees of success and effort, try and advance peace in their own countries and other countries. However, Arab countries in the Persian Gulf region—specifically Saudi Arabia and Qatar—stand accused of funding militant Islamist organizations, such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. According to the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP)'s Global Peace Index of 2016, the six governments had varying degrees of success in maintaining peace amongst their respective borders with Qatar ranked number 1 amongst its regional peers as the most peaceful regional and Middle Eastern nation (and ranked 34 worldwide), while Kuwait ranks second both in the Persian Gulf and Middle East regions (and 51 worldwide), followed by the UAE in the third spot (61 worldwide).


Most of these Arab states have significant revenues from petroleum. The United Arab Emirates has been successfully diversifying its economy. 79% of UAE's total GDP comes from non-oil sectors. Oil accounts for only 2% of Dubai's GDP. Bahrain has the Persian Gulf's first "post-oil" economy because the Bahraini economy does not rely on oil.

Since the late 20th century, Bahrain has heavily invested in the banking and tourism sectors. The country's capital, Manama, is home to many large financial structures. The UAE and Bahrain have a high Human Development Index (ranking 31 and 42 worldwide respectively in 2019) and was recognised by the World Bank as high income economies. According to the World Bank, most of these Arab states have been the world's most generous donors of aid as a share of GDP.

See also

  • Arab Cold War
    • Gulf War
    • Iran–Iraq War
    • Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict
    • Iraqi–Kurdish conflict
    • Qatar–Saudi Arabia diplomatic conflict
  • Arab Revolt
    • Collapse and partition of the Ottoman Empire
    • Iran–Turkey border
    • Iraq–Turkey border
  • Arabian Peninsula
  • Eastern Arabia
  • Basra
  • Gulf Arabic
  • Mesopotamian Arabic
  • Iranian Arabic
  • History of Arabia
    • Pre-Islamic Arabia
    • Religion in pre-Islamic Arabia
    • Tribes of Arabia
  • History of Mesopotamia
  • Territorial disputes in the Persian Gulf


Further reading

  • Abdulla, Gaith (Autumn 2016). "Khaleeji Identity in Contemporary Gulf Politics" (PDF). Gulf Affairs. Oxford Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Studies Forum: 2–5.
  • Agius, Dionisius (2009). Seafaring in the Arabian Gulf and Oman: People of the Dhow. Routledge. ISBN 9780415549868.
  • Madawi Al-Rasheed, ed. (2005). Transnational Connections and the Arab Gulf. ISBN 9780415331357.
  • Al-Sharekh, Alanoud; Freer, Courtney (2021). Tribalism and Political Power in the Gulf. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781838606084.

Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: Arab states of the Persian Gulf by Wikipedia (Historical)