Why are these states essentially left out of the unrest spreading across the Middle East. Essentially, they’re welfare states. The citizens are cared for thanks to oil revenues while working little for themselves. From a Times report:
There has been far less unrest in other Persian Gulf states, like the United Arab Emirates, Qatar or Kuwait — in part, experts say, because they are essentially regal welfare states, where citizens pay no taxes and are looked after by the government. In the United Arab Emirates, for example, when one citizen marries another citizen, the government helps to pay for the wedding and even to buy a home.
Even so, an administration official noted, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed, recently toured less prosperous parts of the United Arab Emirates to hold town-hall-style meetings — at least a nod to democratic rule.
“The truly wealthy societies like Qatar, the U.A.E. and Kuwait have greater advantages,” said Ted Kattouf, a former United States ambassador to Syria. In many ways, he added, “the monarchies have more legitimacy than the republics.”