• Bridging the Gulf in the GCC

    Relations between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have been fractured for much of the past year. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in June 2017 citing reports that Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani had made remarks of the United States while offering support for Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Iran, and claiming Doha’s policies fueled regional terrorism and extremism.

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  • What Will Replace Nuclear Energy?

    When it comes to nuclear energy, there are two distinct and opposing trends in the world today—in the United States and Europe, aging reactors are being phased out and there is a reluctance to build new ones, while countries like China are on a building spree, according to Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency.

    Birol worries about what will replace nuclear energy in countries that are decommissioning their aging plants. “What are we going to do with the phasing out of nuclear… what are the environmental, economic, and market implications? For me, that is a very serious issue for the OECD countries,” he said referring to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

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  • A Widening Gulf

    Qatar crisis creates a headache for the United States

    Nearly two months in, the diplomatic crisis between the Arab Gulf states is growing ever more complicated. The July 16 Washington Post report that cites unnamed US intelligence officials as claiming that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) precipitated the diplomatic row with Qatar by hacking Qatari state-run news outlets and attributing false statements to the tiny emirate’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is, if true, troubling for several reasons.

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  • Qatar Crisis Gets Mired in Mixed Messages

    Mixed messages from US President Donald J. Trump’s administration and an apparent belief in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that they have the ear of the White House have exacerbated the crisis between the United States’ Arab Gulf partners, according to Richard LeBaron, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    The crisis has exposed a rift between Trump and his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. While Trump has been critical of Qatar—he initially appeared to take credit for the Saudi blockade against a country that...

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  • Al Jazeera in the Eye of a Storm

    Al Jazeera, the first state-owned pan-Arab news network, means many different things to Middle Eastern governments and citizens. The Doha-headquartered network has provided Arabs with a style of reporting that was unheard of in the region before its launch twenty-two years ago. In 2011, Al Jazeera’s coverage of Arab Spring uprisings shaped history by promoting revolutionary change and human rights-focused narratives.

    In some Arabs’ eyes, Al Jazeera is a ‘watchdog for democracy’ that gives a ‘voice to the voiceless’, covering stories that are popular among large segments of Middle Eastern societies and unpopular with most Arab governments. Other Arabs...

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  • How Will the Rift with Qatar Play Out?

    Early on Monday morning, a coordinated isolation of Qatar took place in the Gulf Cooperation Council region, and beyond. While it began with Bahrain severing ties, the power behind the moves was clearly Saudi Arabia, with strong Emirati backing. The isolation was rather complete: Riyadh, Manama, and Abu Dhabi requesting all Qatari nationals to depart their territories; a closing of land links between Qatar and Saudi Arabia; and an ending of flights, as well as a closing of airspace. Other countries like Egypt joined in, severing ties and closing its airspace and seaports to all Qatari vessels, though it is not clear if it was expelling Qatari nationals. The situation is unprecedented—but the outcome seems rather inevitable.

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  • Why Bahrain Prefers Trump over Obama

    Since the start of the unrest in Bahrain in 2011, officials in Washington and London have had mainly two attitudes toward the island sheikdom. On one hand, they believe Bahrain’s Western backers must urge the ruling Al Khalifa family to enact reforms in response to concerns such as the marginalization of Shi’ites and violation of human rights. On the other hand, they believe that the United States’ and the United Kingdom’s geopolitical and security interests, particularly when it comes to fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and countering Iran’s ascendancy, are more important than promoting human rights.

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  • Abdo and Malki in The National Interest: The Head of Hezbollah Is Slamming Bahrain's Ruling Family

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  • Road to Riyadh: Bridging the Gulf

    The United States must not be neutral in its relationships with its Gulf partners and Iran, says Atlantic Council’s Barry Pavel

    As US President Barack Obama prepares to attend a summit with Gulf Cooperation Council leaders in Riyadh on April 21, the Atlantic Council’s Barry Pavel has some words of advice: The United States must not be neutral in its relationships with its Arab Gulf partners and Iran.

    The Riyadh summit is part of an extended diplomatic effort to allay concerns in Arab Gulf countries about Iran’s regional ambitions and the perception of US disengagement from the region.

    “I do not agree that the United States should be neutral between its longstanding partners in the Gulf and Iran,” said Pavel, Vice President, Arnold Kanter Chair, and Director of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. “Our partners are not undertaking an expansionist set of activities and trying to destabilize...

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  • Main Obstacle to New US-GCC Partnership May Be GCC Itself

    The talk leading up to President Obama’s summit with the leaders of the six Arab nations comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council focused on the supposed “snub” by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, who opted not to attend after initially signaling that he would.
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