Gulf Analysis Paper: Saudi Arabia and Qatar in a Time of Revolution

By Bernard Haykel

Center for Strategic and International Studies

February 19, 2013

The Arab Spring represents a set of challenges the likes of which have not been seen in the Arab world for a half century or more. Shifts underway in the Levant and North Africa have a profound effect on perceptions of governance in the Gulf, and those shifts are a potential source of threat to the GCC states’ stability. In response, Qatar has been active, building on confidence in its domestic support and its conviction that it has nothing to fear from actors like the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia has been considerably more cautious, reflecting its own diverse internal politics and the leadership’s distrust of sweeping change. 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. So far, they are succeeding.

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