Over the past fifty years, the primary marker differentiating the developmental conditions amongst Middle Eastern states has been the natural endowment, or lack thereof, of petroleum resources. The difference in economic strength between neighboring states has had a profound impact on the dynamics of intra-regional migration. Migration has largely been from the less wealthy states of the Arab world to the small sheikhdoms of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The particular demographic features and economic needs of the states of the GCC have facilitated this enduring pattern of regional migration. Despite the transition in the Gulf’s expatriate labor force to one that is now sourced mostly from South Asia, the continued employment opportunities provided to Arab migrants in the GCC are still of vital importance, particularly because the Middle East is once again in the throes of high levels of conflict. While the Gulf may not be amenable to hosting refugee populations from neighboring Arab states, the desire of Arab workers to find employment in the GCC can only have increased as a result of instability.
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