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US-Gulf rifts set to widen over Syria and Iran

Monday, January 26, 2015

Significance

While the rift between Washington and its Gulf allies is not as wide as it was at the height of the 2011 Arab uprisings, Gulf states do not particularly trust Washington's commitment to their security. This rift will only widen if the United States and Iran reach a settlement on nuclear policy, although the change in Saudi leadership offers a chance to boost relations.

Impacts

  • Washington will struggle to improve direct relations between Riyadh and Tehran.
  • Divisions between Saudi Arabia and Gulf states more willing to engage Iran, namely Kuwait, Qatar and Oman, are likely to rise.
  • A centre-left victory in the Israeli elections may lead to a US-supported regional framework for a peace process with Palestinians.
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