The Gulf Moment: Arab Relations Since 2011
ARMY WAR COLLEGE CARLISLE BARRACKS PA STRATEGIC STUDIES INSTITUTE
Pagination or Media Count:
into a regional power play. The regional landscape has shifted not only once or twice but three times in a very short time frame. The first shock to the regional system, which occurred in 2011, removed four decade-old regimes the second brought Islamism as a political force to the forefront in first Tunisia and later Egypt and Libya and the third saw the return of revisionist forces following the removal of Egypt s President Mohamed Morsi from power, the power-sharing agreement in Tunisia, and the persistence of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. With every wave of change at the domestic level, the regional implications of the Arab Spring became more and more pronounced, and, by 2014, visible in military and diplomatic terms. More emboldened in military terms, more ambitious in diplomatic terms, and less receptive to outside influence, the Arab state system is currently undergoing a reconfiguration unseen since its era of independence. The implosion of some, previously strong, regional actors such as Iraq, Syria, and Egypt has given way to other players all of which are now located in the Gulf. In terms of regional relations, the Arab world has therefore entered a Gulf moment, and is likely to remain in it for the time being. As the region underwent three shocks, Gulf states hedged their bets differently than they had in the beginning but they also sought to influence events actively to embolden their own positions. Qatar, which made itself an unequivocal supporter of all protests from the very beginning, conducted a consistent policy of interventionism in the years after the Arab Spring. The United Arab Emirates UAE moved between actively supporting regime change at the beginning while containing its most destabilizing effects, whereas Saudi Arabia developed an initially cautious but increasingly aggressive revisionist stance that was as consistent as Qatar s but both policies were ultimately in a collision course with each other.
- Government and Political Science