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Gulf crisis could erode Omani and Kuwaiti independence

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Significance

The standoff is realigning the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) around a hawkish inner core of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain. Kuwait has a useful mediating role for now, but Oman is on the outside. An additional concern for Muscat is the tense relationship with US President Donald Trump's administration, which associates the Sultanate with the Iran nuclear deal and its proximity to the Obama presidency.

Impacts

  • As the crisis intensifies, Oman and Kuwait will come under new pressure to join the trade embargo against Qatar.
  • Muscat’s political and economic ties with Iran will receive increased scrutiny.
  • Closer economic ties with Qatar and political relations with Kuwait will place Oman in a distinct three-country sub-bloc in the Gulf.
  • Concerns at the Saudi-led assault on Qatar may lead Sultan Qaboos to clarify the succession process, facilitating a smooth transition.
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