A cornerstone of the Trump administration’s approach to Israeli-Palestinian peace, involving a restructuring of relations between erstwhile Middle Eastern foes appears to be taking shape: Gulf states are making long-standing covert ties to the Jewish state overt without establishing formal diplomatic relations. In the process, the Palestinians are being pressured to fall into line.
Optimists see hopeful signs that the Middle East may be exiting from a dark tunnel of violence, civil war, sectarian strife, and debilitating regional rivalries.The Islamic State (IS) is on the cusp of territorial defeat in Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia may be groping for an exit from its devastating military intervention in Yemen. Gulf states are embarking on economic and social reform aimed at preparing for the end of oil.
In the three-month old Gulf crisis, nothing is too expensive or too down and dirty when it comes to buying influence, garnering soft power, and trying to win hearts and minds.
A three-month old crisis in the Gulf that has pitted Qatar against an alliance led by the UAE and Saudi Arabia has settled into a family squabble in which the protagonists appear to be singing different variations of the same song.
The hacked email account of Yousef al-Otaiba, the influential United Arab Emirates ambassador in Washington, has provided unprecedented insight into the length to which the small Gulf state is willing to go in the pursuit of its regional ambitions.
Recent moves by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates suggest that the two Gulf states may be looking for ways to reduce tensions with Iran that permeate multiple conflicts wracking the Middle East and North Africa.
A two-month old crisis pitting Qatar against an alliance led by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia is proving to be a double-edged sword.