High-stakes poker in the Gulf

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This article is featured in the ORIENT II 2018

It is a non-sequitur to say that the stakes in the Gulf crisis could not be higher. They range from the future ability of Qatar and the region’s other small states to act independently and the uncertain fate of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as an effective regional body, to the fundament on which international relations are built and the role of small states within that structure. Whether and how the Gulf crisis is ultimately resolved could constitute a watershed that is likely to shape the power balance in the Middle East and North Africa as well as impact significantly the way states do business with one another. That is true irrespective of whether the Gulf crisis remains unresolved in the foreseeable future, is truly resolved, or is ended by agreement with a face-saving formula that leaves disagreements on the table.

James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and co-director of the Institute of Fan Culture of the University of Würzburg.

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