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Gulf Humanitarianism in Flux

Arab Gulf Development Actors and their Development Policy Engagement – Backgrounds, Interests, Strategies and Potential for Cooperation

The Gulf Monarchies, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait, have emerged as significant players in humanitarian assistance and development cooperation, driven by their strategic interests. They employ grants, loans, and budget support to wield influence across regions like the Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia, often extending support to governments loyal to them. Their involvement in development cooperation dates back to the 1960s and 1970s, resulting in well-established networks and expertise.

Adobe Stock / UPI Photo

The Gulf goes BRICS

Gulf states form the core of the latest BRICS expansion

In a surprising expansion, three states from the Gulf region are now part of the BRICS group of states. The inclusion of Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE is not a watershed event, but follows an already familiar pattern: middle powers in the Gulf and elsewhere strengthen their international position in the context of global great power rivalries. While Riyadh and Abu Dhabi seek to diversify their foreign policy relations, the regime in Tehran is once again trying to break through its international isolation. All three Gulf states are hoping for economic stimulus as well as a gain in power. The traditional BRICS agenda of establishing an alternative global financial and monetary system could also gain new momentum with three important energy exporters as new members.

Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

Binding the Ties that Bind

Commercial Banks and Political-Economic Links between Saudi Arabia and Jordan

The policy report examines the economic ties between Saudi Arabia and Jordan, focusing on the role of commercial banks as crucial intermediaries. It discusses how Saudi investments, ownership stakes, and loans through Jordanian banks facilitate the flow of Saudi capital into various sectors in Jordan, including real estate. The report emphasises that these financial connections extend beyond governments, involving businesses and citizens, and strengthen the political relationship between the two countries. This intricate web of financial interactions demonstrates the significance of Saudi Arabia's influence on Jordan's economy and society, reaching into everyday life.

Adobe Stock / Vitalii Vodolazskyi

Saudi Arabia: After Iran, now Israel?

New Conditions for a Saudi-Israeli Rapprochement

It would be the deal of the century - but so far it is still a long way off. An agreement between Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States on the recognition of the Jewish state by the guardian of Islam's holiest sites would be a political earthquake in the region and beyond. Not only could it transform the already existing unofficial cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia into a new regional political alliance while also complicating the recent rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran. It might also cement the decades-old alliance between Riyadh and Washington and counter current trends in international geopolitics, particularly the Gulf states' strategic orientation toward China. But while U.S. policymakers are already dreaming of a foreign policy coup, major hurdles to rapprochement remain: Riyadh wants advanced weapons, a civilian nuclear program and security guarantees from the United States. And last but not least, concessions from Israel in the conflict with the Palestinians.


China’s Economic Ties to the Gulf

Comparisons with EU and US Economic Relations

The policy report examines China's increasing economic engagement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries compared to the EU and the United States. It highlights China's pursuit of energy resources and the GCC's reliance on importing industrial goods, leading to significant trade imbalances. China aims to deepen its ties with the GCC for energy security, while the GCC seeks to diversify its economic partners. The report also explores the foreign direct investments (FDI) of China, the EU, and the US in the GCC and Iran. Overall, the competition for energy imports and exports of goods underscores the global importance of these economic relations and their implications on global stability.

Photo by Darcey Beau on Unsplash

Emirati Women on the Rise

The Impact of Globalisation and Higher Education on the Key Social Institutions of Marriage and Family in the UAE

This policy report examines the influence of globalisation and higher education on Emirati society, particularly on marriage and family dynamics. The report highlights the rise of mixed marriages between Emirati citizens and foreign nationals and explores the implications on national identity, fertility rates, and divorce rates. It discusses the UAE government's efforts to support Emirati women's empowerment, challenges faced by women in mixed marriages, and the evolving role of women in society. The report concludes that the UAE is making strides in promoting gender equality and emphasises the critical role Emirati women will play in shaping the nation's future.

Adobe Stock / tum2282

Global Energy Markets and a Strategic Shift in the Gulf

Global energy shortages as an instrument of power

Since Russia's attack on Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the oil- and gas-rich Gulf states have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the global energy shortages caused by the halt in Russian oil and gas supplies to most Western countries. In the absence of alternative producers, the Gulf states have come back into focus as strategically important energy exporters. This has not only increased the geopolitical relevance of the oil and gas suppliers of the Arabian Peninsula, it has also provided them with considerable profits due to exploding energy prices and thus strengthened the financial influence of the Gulf states.

Old partners, new alliances?

The "German-Arab Gulf Dialogue" for the first time at the KAS

Amidst geostrategic shifts, economic upheavals and looming challenges of global climate and energy policy, high-ranking politicians from the Gulf states and Germany met for the fifth "German-Arab Gulf Dialogue on Security and Cooperation", the flagship event of KAS, the Federal Academy for Security Policy (BAKS) and the German-Arab Friendship Association (DAFG). During two days of open and honest discussions, one question was dominating the agenda: How can the partnership between Germany and the Gulf States be strengthened?

Reuters / China Daily CDIC

Diplomatic Thaw in the Gulf?

The Iranian-Saudi rapprochement, implications for the region, and China's newfound role as a Middle East mediator

After more than seven years without diplomatic relations, Iran and Saudi Arabia surprisingly announced a foreign policy rapprochement in Beijing. Is this a turning point in the Iranian-Saudi rivalry, which has broad repercussions in the region from Iraq to Lebanon to Yemen? The agreement between the two Gulf adversaries is an attempt by Iran to break its international isolation and the result of a changing Saudi foreign policy. Meanwhile, China is challenging the U.S. for its influence as the traditional dominant power in the Gulf.

GADR and KAS Cooperate in Hadhramaut, Yemen

The Global Aid for Development and Rights (GADR) organized with KAS’s support a workshop on food security and a capacity building training program for a number of CSOs in Hadhramaut, Yemen on fund raising.