THE notion that the Gulf is a haven of serenity while the rest of the Arab world burns—or goes to the polls—is beginning to seem less plausible. In Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and even the placid United Arab Emirates (UAE), people opposing the ruling families are giving voice to dissent. The region's rulers have long relied on their oil wealth as a way to keep their citizens quiet but as ripples of unrest spread, this may not work for ever.
Kuwait's prime minister, Sheikh Nasser al-Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family, had to step down on November 28th over allegations of corruption. Earlier that month opposition politicians and protesters stormed parliament, one of the few bodies in the Gulf elected on a universal franchise, to demand his resignation.
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