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al-Dawlat al-Muttahidah al-Khalīj

Confederated Gulf States

Flag of the Confederated Gulf States
Coat of arms of the Confederated Gulf States
Capital Dilmun
Other major cities Hufuf, Ad Damman, Al Jubayl, Tarif, Ras al Khafi, Failaka, Dukhan
Official Language Arabic
Demonym Gulf Arabians
Government Confederal Constitutional Elective Monarchy
High Emir Muhammad bin Said al-Say'un (since 2005)
Area 91,687 km&sup2
Population ?,???,000
(July 2008 estimate)
Independence ??????? 1971, from United Kingdom
GDP $???? billion
$????? per capita
Currency CGS Rial
= 100 dirhams
Internet TLD .gs
Membership UNO, Arab League, OPEC, CCASG

The Confederated Gulf States (CGS) (in Arabic: al-Dawlat al-Muttahidah al-Khalīj) is a Middle Eastern confederation of eight states located in the southern tip of the Persian Gulf bordering Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The eight states, termed emirates, are Dilmun, Failaka, Hawar, Madinat Hamad, Madinat Isa, Manama, Rifa and Sitrah.

The CGS is rich in oil and natural gas which contributed much for its prosperity especially since the 1970’s. The country has one of the highest Human Development Index and GDP per capita in Asia



Confederal constitutional elective monarchy. The country is ruled by the High Emir, elected for a five year turn among the several emirs gathered at the Majlis, the consultive council of the High Emir.

According to the Constitution of 1971 none of the emirates should have a consecutive High Emir ruling the confederation, in order to balance the powers between the emirates and to avoid any of them to dominate the others. The High Emir has not much power as he is reduced just to a figurehead to represent the country abroad.

Administrative divisions[]

Main article: Emirates of the Confederated Gulf States

Eight emirates, internally independent, and ruled by their emirs. Forms of monarchy differ from emirate to emirate. Some are more or less democratic constitutional while others are absolute monarchies.

The emirates are (from larger to smaller):


Madinat Isa

Madinat Hamad







Much of the history of the Confederated Gulf States is also shared by the neighbouring independent states of Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. In fact all were British protectorates which until 1971 formed the Trucial States (or Trucial Oman).

In 1968 the United Kingdom announced its decision to end the treaty relationships with the several emirates which composed the Trucial States. All attempted to form a federation but by mid-1970 they were unable to agree on terms of union.

Bahrain and Qatar became independent, on August and September 1971 respectively, and the emirates which compose now the CGS didn’t accept to enter in federation with the United Arab Emirates as the ruler would always be the emir of Abu Dhabi. So when the UAE became independent, on the 2nd December 1971, the CGS was proclaimed independent either.

Unlike the UAE, the CGS became a confederation on which its constituents were completely independent being represented abroad by an elected ruler. According to the CGS Constitution of 1971 each emir would be eligible for a five year term non-renewable by the other emirs. This was decided to balance the power between the emirates and to avoid any to dominate the others. For capital city was chosen Dilmun city, in the homonymous emirate. As the Emirate of Dilmun was one of the smallest it could never be able to dominate the others. Sheik Hassan bin Mubarak al-Muhair, emir of Madinat Isa, was elected first High Emir of the Confederated Gulf States.

One of the major concerns was to create a federal army. As just the most powerful emirates had military force a non-unified army could put in danger national cohesion so as could make the CGS an easy prey to any possible invader. As some of the emirates have long-lasting territorial disputes with Saudi Arabia due to desert borders never correctly delineated the Saudi kingdom was always seen by them as a possible threat.

During the 1970’s the CGS experienced an impressive economical growth due to the rise of the oil prices. During the 1980’s some of the emirs from the richest emirates started several reforms of social purpose in order to guarantee the support of the population by giving them more civil rights and education (thousands of students were sent abroad to study). It was the so-called “Revolution from the Above” as example should be given to general population from rulers.

During this period some of these emirates started to diversify economy hoping to end the dependence from oil industry. Banking and services were developed so as manufacturing industries. Due to the Iran-Iraq War the CGS took the chance for increasing their oil and natural gas refineries while both Iran and Iraq were suffering from their war effort. Once again they took that same chance when the Gulf War occurred as Kuwait ceased its production due to war.

Also large irrigation works were made in order to reduce the dependency from imported food.

In 1998 the fall of the oil price forced to decrease oil production. But CGS by then was already much less dependable from oil exports than some of the other countries from the Persian Gulf and was able to face the crisis.

The CGS was involved at the liberation of Kuwait by sending troops and accepting the use of its military facilities by the Coalition forces. In fact the CGS since the beginning was always a pro-western country. For several times CGS Navy participated in military manoeuvres together with the Royal Navy and the US Navy in the Persian Gulf. The Iranian regime is being seen as a bigger concern.

Today the CGS is a developed nation on which its population enjoys one of the best standards of living in all Asia and a welfare system based on the principles of Islam. The “Revolution from Above” in some of the emirates was able to create a reasonably democratic and free society, rare in the region. On the other emirates things are much different. Some of them are still absolute monarchies much conservative which see on the reforms a danger to their established order but as these ones are also the poorer ones they are rather dependent form the most developed emirates.

Thanks to education the richer emirates are being able to refrain the fundamentalist wave and they remain moderately conservative.

High Emirs[]

1971/76- Hassan bin Mubarak al-Muhair (Madinat Isa)

1976/81- Ahmed bin Hussein al-Shahidi (Hawar)

1981/85- Faisal bin Gamal al-Munassari (Rifa), died in office

1985/90- Muhammad bin Ibrahim al-Qahtan (Dilmun)

1990/95- Muhammad bin Said al-Say’un (Madinat Hamad), sometimes referred as Muhammad II

1995/2000- Tariq bin Hassan al-Muhair (Madinat Isa)

2000/05- Ahmed bin Khalifa al-Jabir (Sitrah), sometimes referred as Ahmed II

2005/?- Muhammad bin Said al-Say’un (Madinat Hamad), second time


Main economical activities are oil production and related industries and manufacturing plus trade and banking in some of the richer emirates. Due to poverty in some of the emirates, many people migrated internally to the oil producing emirates so as externally to Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf emirates.

The richer emirates also received a large number of immigrants from South Asia and the Philippines to work mostly in oil industry and construction.

In some poor emirates natural pearls production are still important.


During early 1960’s the poorer emirates found in philately a new resource .Their emirs contracted European and American printing companies to make regional stamps which became known as "dunes" among worldwide philatelists.

In order to appeal international philatelists these stamps became known for being large, much colourful and with themes strange to Arabic and Muslim culture such as the space conquest, the Winter Olympics, Christmas, Easter and events from the main European royal families among other themes.

These regional postage stamps are still issued today and they are even more known by world philatelists than national ones.



Native are Arabs. There are also immigrants from poorer Arab countries (especially from Yemen and Iraq). Since the discovery of oil lots of immigrants came from India, Pakistan and the Philippines becoming a considerable part of the population.


Arabic is the official language. Among the immigrants the most spoken languages are Hindi, Urdu and Filipino.


Sunni Islam is the main and official religion. Minorities of Christians and Hindus among the immigrants.