In Saudi Arabia itself, last week, seven men were thrown in jail for establishing a political party. This week King Abdullah, who is 86, returned to the country after lengthy medical treatment overseas. He offered $37 billion in new public spending to stave off unrest. Civil servants will get a pay rise; unemployed students will get grants; more housing is to be built. But as Shibley Telhami, a Middle East specialist at the Brookings Institution, has observed, Arab protesters are seeking dignity, not just bread. Saudis have been offered no more say in the way they are governed.
The nervous Gulf: Bullets and bribes | The Economist
The rich Gulf is not isolated from the events going on in the region. Even though the events were sparked by hunger and dismal living standards, peoples' aspirations go beyond their stomach and comfort. People aspire to be dignified human beings with rights and responsibilities towards their countries. In other words: citizens not just inhabitants.