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Friday, 26th April 2013

What Does the Gulf Think About the Arab Awakening?

Source: European Council on Foreign Relations

From the Introduction:

The Arab Awakening has refocused attention on a region in which international interest was declining. But if the fumbling Western diplomatic responses to the dramatic breakdown of Syria and lacklustre political engagement with the recurrent Middle East peace process are any indication, there is still little appetite for anything beyond a commercial engagement with a region that seems to produce nothing more than extremism, oil, and upheaval.

Though the Gulf is perhaps “too rich to revolt”, it has not proved immune to the contagion of political unrest. Accordingly, it is increasingly important to understand the fate that awaits the wider Gulf, encompassing Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Yemen. The strategic importance of the wider Gulf region is partly to do with political geography and partly to do with its volumes of energy trade and sovereign wealth funds – a fifth of all global trade in both petroleum and liquefied natural gas transits through the tiny waterways of the Straits of Hormuz. The stability and reliability of the Gulf states, in particular of Saudi Arabia, is critical to that end. This concern, coupled with perennial anxiety over how to limit Iran’s regional power, also means that the Gulf is now home to some of the world’s leading arms purchasers.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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