Social policy has a distinctive capacity to offer a new and insightful narrative about the political dynamics of the region of the Middle East. Indeed, a social policy perspective can highlight the existence of political agency social welfare action, broadly defined, in the public sphere which is bringing about positive change in Middle Eastern societies and yet has so far remained under-represented in the mainstream social policy and development studies literatures (Jawad, 2009). While there is common rhetorical consensus both in academia and policy circles that the main goal of social policy is general social welfare, the history of social policy shows that this field of action is much more concerned with how social welfare is defined, achieved and measured. We argue that political cleavages underpin the trajectory of welfare state development, and it is these debates which we hope to highlight in this chapter on social policy in the Middle East.