This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Dina Esfandiary, Crisis Group’s Senior Middle East Adviser, about whether the announcement of an end to the Gulf Cooperation Council dispute means the crisis is really over.
Originally published in POMEPS Studies
Country signed reconciliation deal to end three-and-a-half-year intra-Gulf dispute. United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Bahrain agreed to reopen their land, air and sea borders with Qatar after all four states and Egypt 5 Jan signed al-Ula Declaration at Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh; agreement ends three-and-a-half-year blockade of Doha by three neighbouring states and Egypt who cut ties with Qatar in July 2017. U.S. 26 Jan announced temporary pause on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE; U.S. Sec State Anthony Blinken same day said administration wanted to ensure proposed sales “advances our strategic objectives”. Italy 29 Jan halted “export of missiles and bombs” to Saudi Arabia and UAE, saying “respect for human rights is an unbreakable commitment.”
The UAE, together with its ally Saudi Arabia, played a highly visible role in helping make peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia. As its footprint across the Horn of Africa grows, the UAE should avoid having intra-Gulf competition colour its engagement.
The quarrel between Gulf monarchies has spilled into Somalia, with the fragile state now caught between the rival interests of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The competition has already aggravated intra-Somali disputes. All sides should take a step back before these tensions mount further.
The adversarial positions of the UAE and Turkey across the Middle East and North Africa are spilling into the East Mediterranean dispute.
In this podcast series, Crisis Group President Rob Malley and Board Member Naz Modirzadeh, a Harvard professor of international law and armed conflict, dive deep into the conflicts that rage around the globe, along with Crisis Group field analysts and special guests. This week, they discuss U.S. support for the Yemen war and the absence of the Palestinian issue from the normalisation agreement among Israel, the UAE and Bahrain. Crisis Group's Senior Analyst for Ethiopia, Will Davison, also joins them to discuss the challenges facing Ethiopia.
Originally published in Jadaliyya