The A to Z of the Gulf Arab States comes at a time when the world's attention is riveted on the Middle East. The small states covered in this volume-Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-possess about 20 percent of the world's total oil reserves. Beyond the strategic and economic importance conferred upon them by their vast oil reserves, the Gulf Arab states are worthy of attention for the inherent interest of their history and culture. No area of the world has yielded more revealing and exciting archaeological finds in the past few decades than these states. Investigations have brought to light extensive evidence of an important culture as old as Egypt of the Pharaohs or ancient Babylon, which was virtually unknown previously except through rare references in the records of other civilizations.
Malcolm C. Peck is a Program Officer at the Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C. He was Director of Programs at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. from 1970 to 1981, and he served as the Arabian Peninsula Analyst at the U.S. Department of State from 1981-1983. He is author of The United Arab Emirates: A Venture in Unity and is contributor to The World Book Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of the Middle East.