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Tribe-state relations are a foundational element of authoritarian bargains in the Middle East - particularly in the Gulf States. However, the structures of governance built upon that foundation exhibit wide differences. What explains this variation in the salience of kinship authority? Through a case comparison of Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, Scott Weiner shows that variation in tribal access to limited resources before state building can account for these differences. Based on empirical data and over 50 interviews with former government officials, tribal leaders, civil society activists andstudents, the book reveals important new details about state formation on the Arabian Peninsula.