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Gulf Analysis Papers
The CSIS Middle East Program writes periodic analysis papers in conjunction with our Gulf Roundtable events.
In conjunction with its Gulf Roundtable series, the CSIS Middle East Program writes periodic policy papers addressing key economic and security issues in the Gulf region. Launched in April 2007, the Gulf Roundtable series convenes monthly and assembles a diverse group of regional experts, policymakers, academics and business leaders seeking to build a greater understanding of the complexities of the region and identify opportunities for constructive engagement. Topics for discussion include the strategic importance of Gulf energy, changing Gulf relations with Asia, human capital development, media trends, trade liberalization, and prospects for regional integration. The roundtable defines the Gulf as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran, and is made possible in part through the generous support of the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates.
Recent Analysis Papers
While the U.S. unconventional oil and gas boom has had limited direct effects on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), it has had important strategic effects.
The Gulf has become a flashpoint for cyber conflict. Iran has far outpaced the GCC states in developing its cyber capabilities, both for monitoring internal dissent and deploying hackers to disrupt or attack foreign targets. The GCC countries have begun to develop their defensive capabilities, but they will need to expand their defenses and collaborate more effectively to deter future threats.
Wary of the Iran-GCC rivalry and keeping a watchful eye on the United States, China continues to seek to avoid becoming entangled in Middle Eastern regional dynamics. With growing domestic energy demands and a less certain U.S. global role, the balance may prove increasingly difficult to strike.
Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia seek to use their wealth as an instrument of their foreign policy, shaping the external environment in order to secure their internal one.
A survey of Saudi youth helps shed light on the attitudes of young Saudis and underscores the interconnections between these issues that will demand creative thinking on the part of the Saudi government in the years ahead.
For all the public emphasis on Iran’s land-based operations, however, Iran’s maritime reorganization strategy and naval evolution will likely drive its most consequential regional engagements.