Chatham House: Independent thinking on international affairs

The Gulf

Our work on the Gulf countries concentrates on the impact of the Arab Spring on the Gulf states, the emergence of new actors in the region and prospects for political and economic development.

The work is led by Jane KinninmontKristian Coates Ulrichsen and Neil Quilliam.

Future Trends in the Gulf States Project

Our core research project on the Gulf, Future Trends in the Gulf States, aims to research, analyse and anticipate some future scenarios for the political and economic development of the GCC states.

The research explores four main themes:

  • Citizenship and political development
    This theme looks at citizens’ shifting attitudes and political aspirations, particularly those of the under-30s who make up the majority of the GCC’s population, exploring the dynamics of reform. 
  • Citizenship and the economy
    This theme explores changing economic realities within the GCC, analysing the potential of GCC countries to reform and diversify their economies and the links between citizens’ political and economic expectations.
  • Islamism and post-Islamism in the Gulf
    In the context of the growing strength of Islamist movements across the Gulf, this theme considers the diverse aspirations of Islamically inspired movements and their respective trajectories amid regional changes. 
  • External 'threats' and internal community relations
    This theme focuses on the intersections between shifting regional dynamics, transnational movements and community relations within GCC countries. 

These themes will be explored in the context of relevant changes in the wider Middle East region - primarily the Arab awakenings and the ongoing tensions between Iran and some of its neighbours.

The project seeks to deepen discussion on these various themes while analysing the prospects for GCC countries to adapt to ongoing changes in the region and develop their systems accordingly.

In 2012 a workshop was held on Identities and Islamisms in the GCC and the Outlook for Bahrain. Many further events centred on the Gulf Project are expected throughout 2013 and 2014.

We are also running a series of study groups on Bahrain and a research project on Yemen and its regional relations

Recent Resources: 

Law and Citizenship in the GCC
Workshop Summary
Chatham House, April 2014

Saving Oil and Gas in the Gulf
Chatham House Report
Glada Lahn, Paul Stevens and Felix Preston, August 2013

Kuwait: Cautious Grounds for Optimism
Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, Expert Comment, July 2013 

Citizensip in the Gulf
Jane Kinninmont, FRIDE Report, July 2013 

What Next for the Gulfs Rulers-for-Life?
Jane Kinninmont, The Guardian, June 2013 

Dynamic Gulf: Forces of Change in a Strategic Region
Conference Summary, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace & the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), June 2013

Kuwait Study Group: Citizenship and Economy in the Gulf
Workshop Summary, May 2013 

The Arab Spring: the Changing Dynamics of West-GCC Cooperation
Claire Spencer and Jane Kinninmont, Chapter, IAI Report, April 2013

Kuwait: Consensus on the Role of Parliament Remains Elusive
Jane Kinninmont, The Financial Times, April 2013 

To What Extent Is Twitter Changing Gulf Societies?
Jane Kinninmont, February 2013

From Football to Military Might, how Qatar Wields Global Power
Jane Kinninmont, The Guardian, February 2013

UK's Relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain
Jane Kinninmont, Evidence to UK Parliament, January 2013 

Qatar's Delicate Balancing Act
Jane Kinninmont, BBC News, January 2013

Bahrain: An Overview
Jane Kinninmont, Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF), January 2013



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