Political Economy of the Arab Gulf and the Region

The rise of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states as partners of influence and growing reach across the Middle East and North Africa injects new policymaking considerations into how regional and international organizations can best engage with each other as well as with the post-Arab Spring transition states, themselves undergoing periods of profound political and economic change. The changing architecture of world politics means that power and influence will be dispersed among a greater number of active participants than ever before.

For states in transition in the Gulf and the region, this opens up new possibilities with regard to the political and economic choices facing new (and re-empowered) policy elites. Funding and development agencies in the Gulf have long records of providing aid and assistance to the wider region, rooted in Islamic principles of charitable giving as well as humanitarian principles more generally. What has changed since 2011 is that Gulf States’ foreign policy has become more assertive in an attempt to establish regional ownership of the pace and direction of the “post-Arab Spring” landscape. As the GCC states become more proactive in the regional arena, it is important to identify how best and where to engage along a broad spectrum of issues.

This program will generate practicable and policy-relevant outputs that fall into two categories:

  • Issue briefs and reports on key regional issues that assist policymakers to understand commonalities or differences in approach, motivation, and objective, and
  • Academic papers and practitioner reports that identify avenues of practical cooperation and assist in the formulation of common objectives and the strengthening of operational partnerships between U.S.- and Gulf-based partners.

Priority will be given to devising manageable and “quick impact” recommendations that can underpin the scaling up of cooperation in support of the larger and more complex targeted interventions that will be needed to stabilize transition states in the region in the months and years to come.