“The Arab Spring has been, in turns, exhilarating and excruciating. It has also been expensive—even for relatively peaceful Middle Eastern countries,” says Elizabeth Dickinson, the Gulf correspondent for The National.
“Three Gulf countries sent a $12 billion aid package to Egypt in July, the latest in a regional spending spree that has also benefited the troubled countries of Yemen and Tunisia. And the Gulf governments—the richest in the region—have been spending even more within their own borders to keep their citizens content,” she writes for The New Republic:
Some of their quietest but most important outlays have been on popular domestic measures like government housing, debt relief, and welfare programs. Within a year of the Arab Spring’s outbreak in Tunisia in December 2010, the Gulf states’ governments were already spending, on average, nearly 20 percent more on “current expenditures” (the economic lingo for one-time expenses that can’t be recouped, as opposed to long-term investments, like infrastructure). This spending–which is mainly collected by citizens, not foreign residents—is, by and large, still rising. Here’s a look at what each Gulf state has spent to ensure stability at home as uprisings erupt in the neighborhood.
“In Egypt, Gulf countries have become the donors of first and last resort. Money from the Arabian peninsula has outpaced U.S. assistance more than fivefold,” Dickinson notes.