Historians and social scientists writing on the changing fate of monarchy in the Arabian peninsula have done remarkably little to address the political signi¢- cance of migration. Research focusing on the ruling families has emphasised how they have overcome the dilemmas of modernisation and, more sotto voce, the contradictions of capitalism, through great power support, the crafting of states and building of coalitions (using rents where possible), and on how rulers have identi¢ed themselves as generous father-¢gures, authentic yet modernising guardians of national, Arab and Islamic traditions and values (Anderson 1991, 2000; Ayalon 2000; Beblawi 1990; Crystal 1990; Davidson 2008; Entelis 1976; Halliday 2000; Huntington 1968; Khalaf 1992, 2000; Kostiner 2000; Luciani 1990; Maddy-Weitzman 2000; Mahdavi 1970; Okruhlik 1999; Owen 2004; Ross 2001; Zagorski 2009). Research focusing on migrants has mainly analysed them as ‘manpower’ required for ‘economic growth’. Here, expert planners and responsible authorities either succeed or fail in implementing migration policies that will guarantee the undistorted operation of the market ^ while paying due attention to local ‘cultural’and ‘demographic’concerns (Bhagwati 1984; Birks and Sinclair 1980; Fergany 1982; Kapiszeswki 2001; Seccombe 1983, 1987; Seccombe and Lawless 1986; Serageldin et al. 1983; Sherbiny 1981, 1984). This latter approach occludes both its own politics and those of migrant ‘manpower’ by making the profoundly unequal and consequential control over persons, their livelihoods and social and political relations appear merely as the neutral and technocratic management of things. The relative lack of overall attention to migration politics is perhaps surprising given that in six of the eight surviving monarchies in the Arab world, the workforce is between one half and ninetenths foreign.