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What Greater GCC Citizenship Means for the Arab Gulf’s Stateless Residents

MIN READNov 12, 2021 | 21:45 GMT

Members of Kuwait’s stateless Bidoon community protest to demand citizenship and other rights in Jahra, northwest of Kuwait City, in December 2011.

Members of Kuwait’s stateless Bidoon community protest to demand citizenship and other rights in Jahra, northwest of Kuwait City, in December 2011.

(YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images)

As part of their efforts to open up citizenship, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates will increasingly naturalize their stateless “Bidoon” residents -- creating a region-wide precedent that will pose greater political and reputational risks for nearby Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which will be slower to naturalize their much larger Bidoon populations. For generations, the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have hosted large numbers of Bidoon (meaning “without” in Arabic) residents who failed to get citizenship as the region formed states in the 20th century. But now some countries are starting to rectify this situation. ...

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