“Qatar and the Gulf Crisis”
In 2017, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, launching an economic blockade by land, air and sea. The self-proclaimed ‘Anti-Terror Quartet’ offered maximalist demands: thirteen ‘conditions’ recalling Austria-Hungary’s 1914 ultimatum to Serbia. They may even have intended military action.
Well into its second year, the standoff in the Gulf has no realistic end in sight. With the Bahraini and Emirati criminalisation of expressing support for Qatar, and the Saudi labelling of detainees as ‘traitors’ for their alleged Qatari links, bitterness has been stoked between deeply interconnected peoples. The adviser to the Saudi crown prince advocating a moat to physically separate Qatar from the Arabian Peninsula illustrates the ongoing intensity–and irrationality–of the crisis.
Most reporting and analysis of these developments has focused on questions of regional geopolitics, and framed the standoff in terms of its impact on (largely) Western interests. Lost in this thicket of commentary is consideration of how the Qatari leadership and population have responded to the blockade. As the 2022 FIFA World Cup draws closer, the ongoing Qatar crisis becomes increasingly important to understand. Ulrichsen offers an authoritative study of this international standoff, from both sides.
Dr. Kristian Coates Ulrichsen
Baker Institute Fellow for the Middle East, Rice University
Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, Ph.D., is a Baker Institute fellow for the Middle East. Working across the disciplines of political science, international relations and international political economy, his research examines the changing position of Persian Gulf states in the global order, as well as the emergence of longer-term, nonmilitary challenges to regional security. Previously, he worked as senior Gulf analyst at the Gulf Center for Strategic Studies between 2006 and 2008 and as co-director of the Kuwait Program on Development, Governance and Globalization in the Gulf States at the London School of Economics (LSE) from 2008 until 2013.
Dr. Dania Thafer
Executive Director, Gulf International Forum
Dr. Dania Thafer is the Executive Director of Gulf International Forum. Her area of expertise is on the Gulf region’s geopolitics, US-Gulf relations, and the political economy of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. She is also a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University.
Dr. Thafer been widely published on matters concerning the Arab Gulf states including several articles and publications. She has co-authored two edited books “The Arms Trade, Military Services and the Security Market in the Gulf States: Trends and Implications” and “The Dilemma of Security and Defense in the Gulf Region”. Dr. Thafer is currently writing a book focused on the effect of state-business relations on economic reform in the GCC states. Previously, she worked at the National Defense University’s Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies.
Dr. Thafer has a master’s degree in Political Economy from New York University, and PhD specialized in the Political Economy and International Relations of the GCC states from American University in Washington, DC.