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Institutions of the State: Policymaking in the GCC

Chatham House, London


Dr Sara Bazoobandi, Senior Lecturer, International Political Economy, Regent's University London
Sara Masry, Middle East Analyst
Dr Mark Thompson, Assistant Professor, Middle East Studies, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals; Senior Associate Fellow, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies
Chair: Jane Kinninmont, Deputy Head and Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House


Following the 2011 Arab uprisings, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - played a crucial role in reordering the Middle East and building stronger ties between countries. These wealthy nations have undergone dramatic changes in recent years with huge economic and population growth, alongside an increase in combined global influence. The current crisis within the GCC and the relationship with Qatar jeopardizes this and threatens the stability of the countries themselves. What changes are policymakers in the GCC making to account for the current tensions? Is this a short term political glitch or a long term problem linked in part to approaches to religion and the state?

Our panel will analyse policymaking approaches in the GCC and the balance of power in the region. It will draw on research from the new book Policy-Making in the GCC: State, Citizens and Institutions, which argues for the crucial role institutions now play in directing policy in and between the Gulf Arab states. Why have these institutions come to the fore in the policymaking process? And how are they dealing with a younger, more engaged and internet-savvy citizenship base demanding social and economic reforms?