GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
The New Politics of Gulf Arab State Foreign Aid and Investment
Paper Proposal Text :
The Arab Gulf States (AGS), or the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates), have historically used foreign aid and humanitarian aid as a key tool of their respective foreign policies within the wider Middle East. More recently, however, we have seen targeted financial aid and military assistance by these states, particularly Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, towards neighbours in crisis. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have used financial and military aid to jockey for influence within Egypt’s evolving political leadership, to attempt to remove Syria’s Assad from power, to counter the movement of Islamic State in Iraq, to influence political battles in Libya, and even newly democratic Tunisia. Windfalls in wealth generated from the rapid ascent of oil and gas prices between 2009 and 2014 allowed budgets to expand for military expenditure and financial aid. The dramatic fall in oil prices in late 2014 may affect the ability of these states to continue their generosity and the exercise of economic statecraft in the MENA region. The article tracks the expansion of Arab Gulf State aid in the wider region after 2011, with attempts to correlate the movement of oil prices with financial aid and more interventionist foreign policy historically since the 1970s. More theoretically, the article asks how effective aid can be as a foreign policy tool. Are there limits to the resources of Arab Gulf States to achieve their foreign policy objectives inside the MENA region, and what policy outcomes might they expect to achieve?