The four-year blockade of Qatar by rival Gulf powers is over, but fault lines among these states remain. If the gaps are not bridged, the competition could exacerbate conflicts – and spark new ones – well outside the region.
Bahrain and United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced plans to restore diplomatic ties with Qatar, concluding process to end almost six-year intra-Gulf rift.
Bahrain and UAE announced plans to re-establish formal relations with Qatar. Bahrain and Qatar 13 April revealed intention to restore diplomatic ties after pair held second round of dialogue at Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretariat in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh. Shortly after, UAE and Qatari officials 18 April told reporters both countries were working to reopen embassies and restore ties; Bahrain and UAE, along with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, severed ties with Qatar and imposed blockade in June 2017, marking beginning of tense intra-Gulf confrontation lasting until 2021. While announcements mark full resumption of ties between Qatar and all former blockading states, signalling entire GCC’s intent to turn page after 2017-2021 rift, tensions and friction points continue to plague intra-GCC relations, including economic competition between Saudi Arabia and UAE as well as disputes between UAE and Qatar over latter’s alleged ties to Islamists in region.
Dialogue efforts in the Gulf have stalled amid rising tensions. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2023, Crisis Group explains how the EU and its member states can help revive Saudi-Iranian and other talks.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood speaks with Crisis Group’s Middle East experts Joost Hiltermann and Dina Esfandiary about the World Cup in Qatar, regional politics and friction between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
Israel would like to forge a military alliance with the Gulf Arab monarchies as part of its strategy for checking Iran’s power projection in the region. For Gulf capitals, however, the Israeli ambitions risk too much and offer too little.
Post-9/11 events have shaken Riyadh’s and Abu Dhabi’s faith in the durability of Washington’s support. As part of our series, The Legacy of 9/11 and the “War on Terror”, Dina Esfandiary says U.S.-Gulf ties will likely not regain the strength they had twenty years ago.
The Gulf Arab states have perceived threats from Iran since the 1979 revolution. Frictions have lessened of late, offering an important opportunity. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi should keep engaging Tehran with an eye to initiating the broadest possible talks on regional peace and security.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Dina Esfandiary, Crisis Group’s Senior Middle East Adviser, about whether the announcement of an end to the Gulf Cooperation Council dispute means the crisis is really over.
This week on The Horn, Alan Boswell is joined by Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for Gulf States, Elham Fakhro, to discuss what the recent accord between the Gulf countries means for their geopolitical rivalries in the Horn of Africa.
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