Gulf states’ policy towards Syrian refugees: Charity before hospitality

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The regional turmoil in the Middle East since December 2010 has provided researchers with many topics for research. Despite a relatively large number of studies in recent years, none of them deal with one of the central questions - namely, the attitude of the Gulf States toward the misery of the Syrian refugees. While more than six million Syrians fled their homeland and became refugees, 1.5 million in Europe, few, if any, succeeded in relocating to the Gulf States. This paper endeavors to explore the Gulf States' policy toward Arab (mostly Syrian) refugees. The major finding is that GCC members prefer to grant financial support to refugees outside of the Gulf region (this is justified as charity - Zakat) instead of hosting refugees. The combination of a fragile demographic structure, fear of political and social instability, and constant concern about infiltration by terrorists under the guise of refugees are the main reasons for the policy of closing the gates entirely to the refugees. These concerns also indicate that the idea of the nation state prevails over pan-Arab nationalism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-101
Number of pages22
JournalAsian Affairs
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Charity
  • Demography
  • Gulf States
  • Syrian refugees
  • Terror

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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