Qatar and the Gulf crisis

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This article is featured in the ORIENT II 2018

In June 2017, a quartet of states led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE launched an unprecedented, wide-ranging, and biting blockade of Qatar. After the initial shock, which included emptying supermarket shelves and even fears of escalation, the Qatari state swiftly and successfully secured suppliers for goods principally from Turkey and Iran. The quartet long believed that Qatar’s foreign policies heedlessly undermined the stability and security of their states. A combination of such long-term simmering issues and immediate factors like the role of a pliant President Trump meant that these states rolled the dice. At best, they hoped that Qatar would capitulate under such tremendous pressure. At worst, they believed Qatar’s activities would be circumscribed, and it would be slowly financially bled. While Gulf politics can pivot quickly, there are no signs that this crisis will abate. Without serious pressure, probably from a US President, it will likely be measured in years not months.

David B. Roberts is Assistant Professor at King’s College london, where he is based at the UK Defence Academy. Prior to joining King’s, he was the director of the Qatar office of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI) think-tank. His book Qatar: Securing the Global Ambitions of a City State was noted by Bloomberg and Stratfor as a ‘must read’ of 2017.

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