The Al-Ula rapprochement: What is next?

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This article is featured in the ORIENT III 2021

The rift within the Gulf Cooperation Council has caused significant consequences among its member states, both in the region and globally. When simmering differences surfaced in 2017, borders were closed, contacts severed, and the future of the GCC seemed in doubt. Now, first steps have been taken to re-establish relations, build back trust and engage in an honest rapprochement. A significant transition was also seen in the policies of the regional states during the transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration. This article attempts to identify the future trajectories for the GCC and whether it will continue to function according to the pre-crisis status quo.

Mahjoob Zweiri is Director of the Gulf Studies Center and Associate Professor in Contemporary Politics of Iran and the Gulf at Qatar University. From March 2003 to December 2006, he was a research fellow and then director of the Centre for Iranian Studies in the Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at Durham University. Dr. Zweiri has more than 70 publications in the areas of Iran and Contemporary Middle East History and Politics. In addition to Arabic, Dr Zweiri is fluent in Farsi and English.

Thomas Bonnie James is a PhD candidate in Gulf Studies in the Gulf Studies Center at Qatar University.

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