The Gulf: The next generation

The intense competition for Gulf Arab leadership


Tuesday, June 13 15:00 UK / 10:00 EDT

Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries agree on the need to check Iran’s regional aspirations. They feel emboldened to do so by the open support of the Trump administration in Washington, which is reversing President Barack Obama’s perceived abandonment of them in favour of Tehran. But the Gulf monarchies differ radically on how to achieve this goal -- pushing Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to open confrontation with Qatar and leaving Kuwait and Oman caught uncomfortably in the middle.

These divisions will be hard to resolve. Increased Gulf hostility towards Iran will fuel sectarian rivalry in the region, with impacts on conflicts from Syria to Yemen. The importance of economic ties with Iran to some Gulf Arab countries will make it even more difficult to hold a common line, challenging Saudi Arabia’s traditional leadership of the region. At the same time, the Gulf Arab states face significant challenges in adjusting their economies against the day the oil runs out.

Who will emerge from this contest the more influential? Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman or Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed?

Will Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, follow in his father’s footsteps and take a more independent line over Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, or will he surrender to force majeure with his country's food security and hard-won hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup at risk?

Join us on Tuesday, June 13 to put your questions about these issues and others on the changing geopolitics of the region to three of Oxford Analytica’s expert advisors.