Implications of the war in Gaza for GCC-Israeli rapprochement

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This article is featured in Orient I/2024.

This article examines the implications of the ongoing war in Gaza for prospects of rapprochement between Israel and the Gulf states. The article provides historical background and context to the evolving position of the Gulf Cooperation Council states toward Israel in the 1990s, with the exception of Kuwait, analyses the factors that lay behind the realignment of regional interests in the 2000s and 2010s, and assesses the consequences for the future of relationships in the aftermath of the horrific attacks by Hamas on Israel on 7 October 2023 and the Israeli bombardment of Gaza that followed.

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen is the Fellow for the Middle East at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. His research spans the history, political and international political economy, and international relations of the Gulf states and their changing position within the global order. He is the author of six books about the Gulf states, including Insecure Gulf: The End of Certainty and the Transition to the Post-Oil Era (Hurst, 2011), The Gulf States in International Political Economy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), Qatar and the Gulf Crisis (Oxford University Press, 2020), and Centers of Power in the Arab Gulf States (Hurst, 2023). Prior to joining the Baker Institute in 2013, he co-directed the Kuwait Programme on Development, Governance and Globalization in the Gulf States at the London School of Economics and Political science and was also an Associate Fellow with the Middle East North Africa Programme at Chatham House between 2012 and 2021.

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