Research studies

The repercussions of the Gulf crisis on the Arab region and the Syrian revolution

Prepared by: Mansour abou Karim

Translation: Ola Amer

Democratic Arab Center

The Middle East region is witnessing many strategic transformations that pose fundamental challenges to he governing frameworks, the unstable political and security interactions in the region for yearst The Gulf crisis between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, is an expression of these profound transformations in the Middle East region Especially after President Trump’s visit to the region This visit has resulted in dramatic developments that have overshadowed the overall situation in the region The visit carried significant political and religious implications It was a turning point in the history of the Middle East region Because it was inaugurated for a new stage in the history of international relations And the beginning of a stage where America’s policy towards the region is rooted in traditional politics By restoring warmth to its traditional alliances, notably Egypt and the Gulf States The visit, initiated by President Trump, was a summit meeting with Islamic countries in Riyadh During which he emphasized the face of terrorism and the forces supporting him The strategy of the United States of America in dealing with the issues and regulations of the region was identified focusing on countering the danger of the terrorism  and terrorist groups.

 These challenges resulting from the dilemma of the impact of changes in the region Raises questions about the future of the situation in the Middle East region in general and the Syrian revolution in particular After the Gulf crisis exploded This paper will try to examine the interactive relationship between the continuation of the Gulf crisis and its repercussions on the Syrian  revolution By answering questions about strategic transformations in the Arab and Syrian landscape following the eruption of the Gulf crisis Considering the causes of the crisis and its repercussions on the Syrian crisis, linked to the positions of international and regional parties.

Firstly: The causes and motives of the Gulf crisis.

 Qatar’s growing role in the region has emerged After the geopolitical variables that flew after the Iraqi invasion of the State of Kuwait in 1991, the Gulf system failed to protect itself without calling outside interference to protect it Which called on Qatar to reconsider its policy in the region since 1992 Where the border dispute between it and Saudi is blown I took this opportunity to sign joint defence agreements with the United States in the same year This has become one of the most important allies in the United States of America in the region, It contains many American bases in the area([1]).

 The current Gulf crisis has not been the result of the moment, but is the product of an extended history of differences in views Since the previous Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, has embarked on a foreign policy that is different from that of the rest of the Gulf Sheikh Hamad has worked to get his country out of the Saudi Arabian cloak They drew new lines for his country’s foreign policies are independent and sometimes conflicting with Saudi policy Which led to the emergence of Qatar’s name in the international arena Qatar also played a role in foreign policy beyond its modest size Over the past years, mediation efforts in Western Sahara, Yemen and the Sudan have led Since the outbreak of Arab uprisings, its media, financial and political influence have been used to support the rebels in many Arab countries which has irritated many of the region’s governance systems that have seen country behaviour as an override of red lines at the political and strategic level.

 Despite the multiple causes of the current Gulf crisis, the main reason is that Qatar is exceeding its role and political weight by geographical location, extending eastward and west Which posed a threat to the prestige of major powers in the region Qatar took advantage of the political vacuum in the region following the launch of the Arab Popular Movement She tried to install herself as a leader of the crisis, surpassing major capitals with her political behaviour Over the past years, Qatar has been pursuing completely different political behaviour than those of the Gulf states Through the establishment of flexible alliances and balanced relations with many international and regional powers It has established relations with Iran, Israel, Turkey and America, and has embarked on a strategic alliance with Islamic groups in the region.

Which Qatar has seen as the rightful heir to the systems of government in the Arab countries Until Qatar became the official sponsor and the exclusive agent of these groups,  Over the past years, Qatar has pursued an expansionary and pragmatic foreign policy in the context of seeking a greater regional role Doha has been based on influential people, political currents and engagement with multiple actors Even as volatile as jihadist groups, their foreign policy activities have evolved from a focus on mediation between conflicting parties directly to the financing and training of military groups But country foreign policy has been plagued by mistaken calculations, local challenges and international pressure٦ All of which are highly correlated with Qatar’s relationship with its regional rival, Saudi Arabia([2]).

The Gulf crisis was an expression of the speed of strategy  transformations in the Middle East region The region is experiencing a period of deep instability In this context The New York Times published an analytical report, saying that the crisis will lead to a change of policies and alliances in the Middle East Under the insistence of Qatar to stay outside the Saudi sphere of influence And its steadfastness in the face of the blockade imposed on it The paper said in its report The crisis that shook the Arabian Gulf region and the United States, and now threatens to stretch towards Turkey and Iran, must go back to understand its roots and causes “Sheikh Hamad bin Al Khalifa al-Thani, since he took office in 1995, tried to end Saudi Arabia’s dominance over the country’s neighbour and considered that Doha would not achieve national security unless it changed its relationship with Riyadh,” the paper said “Some thought that the country strategy would collapse soon after some of its Gulf neighbors imposed a siege on them during the week past but Qatar has proved that it has its allies too so this conflict will continue and will result in changes and will have consequence ,the paper said([3]) .

The country has not only played in the region as an isolated force from the region’s actors, such as Iran, Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia The Iranian-Qatari rapprochement is clear and concrete with several signs The most notable of these are the country’s offer to assist Iran in extracting Iranian gas from the northern field It is also reported that the two countries are ready to conduct joint military exercises, which illustrates the strength of the relations between the two countries([4]).

It raised Qatar’s desire to chart a separate course between it and Saudi Arabia, particularly in policies towards Egypt and Syria This has affected the external capacity of these two Gulf countries and increased instability in the Middle East region Qatar initially supported the Muslim brotherhood  Doha has long been linked to ideological relations with the brotherhood  She believed that the group was likely to dominate the new political landscape in countries undergoing a period of transition Contrary to the Saudi stance, Qatar supported the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt and took a negative stance on the regime of President Abdel Fattah al-Saysi, prompting  Riyadh to increase pressure on Doha to change its course ([5]).

 It seems that Qatar has tried to keep its foreign policies away from neighboring countries by having good relations with Iran and Islamic groups Which triggered the crisis between them and the four countries, which may continue in the coming months The parties remain steadfast in their positions of refusal to make any concessions, which will be reflected in the Arab region and the Syrian revolution.

Secondly: The impact of the Gulf crisis on the Middle East region.

 During the last decade, the Middle East region has experienced dramatic shifts affecting the international and regional levels It has become a strategic point of attraction for international conflict and competitiveness The international conflict between East and West has weighed its weight in the United States-Russian collision, which represents a classical polar conflict at the level of international hierarchy On the other hand, it is an aggressive regional power struggle aspiring to lead and lead at the expense of other regional powers In addition to internal transformations, the regional landscape has been marred by the strategic changes that have struck the Middle Eastern states as a result of internal disintegration and external externalities surrounding them The most important major changes in the Middle East can be summarized as follows([6]):

– Flare up of international wars and conflicts: As a result of the dynamic changes in the international architecture that have shaped the impact of international poles, Russia and the United States, towards indirect confrontation in the region.

-Entry into the area in  the Agency wars: The breakdown of the regional balance system, which has led some regional powers to play a major geostrategic role at the expense of the strategic depth of some regional powers, which has impacted negatively on the national security equation.

– The collapse of the national state: the regional conflict between the rival regional powers has dismantled the bonds of social cohesion between the components of the Middle Eastern state.

– Breakdown of borders and administrative divisions of some states: the international and regional conflict in the region has led to a loss of control over some localities and to the creation of cantons and duas within one state, Iraq suffers from this problem, as well as Syria, Yemen, Libya and Turkey, as well as some states States that are candidates for this situation. -International migration and demographic changes: conflicts and wars in the region have produced millions of migrants who have turned to regional States, particularly Turkey and Europe, causing confusion in Turkish relations.

– The internal security breakdown of some Middle Eastern states: Security is a pillar of the stability and external strength of States.

– Oil speculation and energy supply conflict: Most countries in the Middle East suffer from economic crises as a result of their economies being directly linked to oil and gas.

 The Spanish newspaper Al-Pais also published a report on the diplomatic row between the Arab Gulf states, which threatens the balance of power in the Middle East “The conflicts in the Middle East have become more complicated this week against the backdrop of the explosions that rocked Tehran,” the paper said in a report The sharp conflict in the Gulf also plays an essential role in the midst of all these tensions Although the two things are not directly linked, the paper said that under the umbrella of escalating tension between the two regional forces, Iran and Saudi Arabia As Trump’s support for the kingdom has pushed the war with Iran a step forward The paper said that indifference to the situation in the region must not be shown or underestimated, as it threatens to destabilize the fragile balance of the various forces in the Middle East, and in a non-peaceful manner, Iran considers the organization of the state to be moving in accordance with Saudi Arabia’s orders, the paper said For its part, Saudi Arabia believes that Iranian intervention in Shiite communities within Arab countries has led to the emergence and growth of extremism and violence in the region([7]).

The current crisis has drawn a strong blow to the common Gulf defense concept Regardless of the prospects for resolving that crisis, it is logical to conclude that from now on Qatar will not look to the states the Gulf, which has been proclaimed as an allied state, but as neighbours posing a threat to its national security Certainly, such considerations will never be forgotten by the political decision makers of other Gulf states such as Kuwait and the Sultanate of Oman Perhaps the most important step taken by the GCC States in the framework of defensive policies, such as the forces of the island Shield, or the defence system in the Gulf, it has become questionable, and the current crisis is also likely to cast doubt on many unitary projects among the Gulf states Here, it can be said that a country like Qatar (if it stays in the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council), in addition to Kuwait and Oman, is expected to become more conservative or more careful about the Gulf regional integration projects([8]).

 The Gulf crisis has cast a shadow over the Arab and Gulf landscape, a crisis that is on its way to the elimination of the Gulf Cooperation Council, because of the insistence of the parties crisis on its positions, and the Council failed to play its part, especially after the failure of the mediation efforts undertaken by Kuwait and the United States of America.

 Third: The repercussions of the Gulf crisis on the Syrian revolution.

With the escalation of the crisis between Qatar and the Gulf states, something is beginning to change rapidly in the Middle East, alliances crumble, other breed, axes re-established, and the friendship of enmity, and the enemy becomes a friend All of this is accelerating after the visit of Donald Trump, the US president, to the region, especially his visit to Saudi Arabia and his meeting with leaders of dozens of Arab and Islamic countries in the world and the explosion of the Gulf crisis, with tension in relations with Qatar I have come to sever the diplomatic relations of many Arab and Islamic countries with them, and to spread the crisis in all regional and international directions. It has repercussions that have begun to loom over the region, casting a shadow over the future of the entire region, especially on the path of the Syrian crisis that has been unfolding for almost seven years. The American-Gulf-Turkish axis was a mirror in the face of the Russian-Iranian-Syrian axis. Apparently, this equation began to disintegrate, to be replaced by another, completely different, in terms of data and output ([9]).

 The fragmentation of the Gulf position and the intensification of the internal conflict between the Gulf states, which were considered to be among the strongest supporters of the forces of the Syrian revolution, must leave serious repercussions on the future of the revolution and the opposition at the same time, Bashar al-Assad’s regime in the Gulf crisis has seen an opportunity to assert its view that some States have intervened in the affairs Its interior, and this crisis underscores the support of Qatar and the Gulf states for terrorist groups in Syria.

 As a result of the direct repercussions of the Gulf crisis on the Syrian scene, the Syrian opposition has not abated its concern about the possible reflection the Gulf-Qatari crisis on the Syrian dossier, given its dependence on the Gulf political and financial support The apprehension that prevailed in the Syrian opposition circles, following the accusations levelled at Qatar about its support for the so-called terrorism, spread to concern witnessed by the opposition military scene itself, some of which receive country support directly or indirectly from Doha and the proposals attributed to the head of the Syrian interim Government Jawad Abu Hatab shows this fear situation, where he said the Gulf differences-the Gulf adversely affects the Syrian revolution, and the repercussions of the Gulf crisis on the Syrian scene can be limited to the following aspects([10]):

The psychological aspect: A

The sense of losing a “booster” reinforces a bad psychological situation in the subsidized party, so it can adversely affect its morale, perhaps the psychological factor in the Syrian case, today it is an important factor, with the feeling of the Syrian interior–opposed to the lion–that everyone is abandoning it.

B- The relief side:

 The humanitarian and relief file can be considered the first to be affected by the Gulf-Qatari crisis, where the Gulf money is an important factor in the steadfastness of the Syrian movement not only at the military level but also in humanity, given the Gulf states on this side.
C . Military side:

 The continuing Gulf crisis is increasing concerns about the fate of Syrian groups opposed to the long-held support of the countries concerned by the crisis, especially Qatar and Turkey, which has been lined up with Qatar in its current crisis The internal fighting in Eastern Ghouta between the Legion of the Beneficent and the Islamic Army represents a clear aspect of the impact of the Gulf Division, thus demonstrating the possibility of an armed clash and proxy war between the factions counted on the Gulf side .

There is also a fear that the split of the pro-Syrian revolution and the placing of Turkey and Qatar at great risk from Saudi Arabia will hinder the easing of the Syrian crisis It is also feared that the fabricated Gulf crisis will be in the interest of Iran and its sectarian militias that are increasing terrorism in region, and in this context, Syrian opposition Anwar Hassan feared that the crisis would weaken the role of the opposition in favor of Iran Because all the institutions and parties of the opposition are sad for what is going on in the Gulf, we hope that things will be resolved between brothers quickly and with dialogue “There is no doubt that the current crisis is the Iranian axis, especially at a time when the force is mobilizing Syria’s democracy to resolve the battle of Raqqa and move to the Battle of Deir ez-Zor, which will be the end of the presence of the” Daa’shi “in Syria It also came at a much more time to throw a stone into a stagnant political solution because of the intransigence of the regime, and at a time when the region needs to bi-diplomatic Gulf “Qatar and Saudi Arabia” to exert pressure on Russia to push the al-Assad to seriously deal with the negotiations([11]).


 Most policy experts in the region and the world gather on the profound transformations brought about by the Gulf crisis in the eastern region the middle and the Arab gulf in particular, especially after the clear alignment between supporters and opponents of the Qatari or Arab situation The great repercussions of the crisis on the overall situation in the region that have plagued the Gulf Cooperation Council, its future is at stake, given the persistence and complexity of the crisis and the failure of all mediation to reach a solution that satisfies all parties To add that the major repercussions of the Gulf crisis, the blockade imposed on Qatar has prepared the Gulf region to reach the Syrian revolution, after reflecting the disagreement of the gulf in the Syrian field in the form of armed clashes between the Syrian factions, which place the future of the Syrian revolution in the face of great challenges, because The great benefit that the Syrian regime and its allies have gained, following the eruption of differences in the Gulf position, which is the greatest supporter of the Syrian revolution Thus, it can be said that the future of the Syrian revolution has become largely linked to the developments in the Gulf region, in terms of continuing Gulf support, not to all forms, which is the primary engine of the forces of the Syrian revolution, which means that the Syrian revolution may witness dramatic developments in favour of the president’s regime Bashar al-Assad if Gulf differences continue to escalate.

[1] شراب، منذر، محمد، السياسة الخارجية القطرية في ظل التحولات السياسية العربية(2003-2012) رسالة ماجستير غير منشورة، جامعة الأزهر، غزة فلسطين، 2014، ص 1

[2] الخطيب، لينا، دراسة بعنوان: سياسة قطر الخارجية وموازين القوى في الخليج، مركز كارنغي للسلام، 11/9/2014، على الرابط التالي:

[3] تقرير صحفي، بعنوان، نيويورك تايمز: هكذا تعيد أزمة قطر تشكيل تحالفات المنطقة، موقع عربي 21، بتاريخ 14/7/2017، على الرابط التالي:

[4] تقرير صحفي، بعنوان: السياسة الخارجية القطرية إلى أين ..؟!، نون بوست، بتاريخ 1/11/2014، على الرابط التالي:

[5] الخطيب، لينا، دراسة بعنوان: سياسة قطر الخارجية وموازين القوى في الخليج، مركز كارنغي للسلام، 11/9/2014، على الرابط التالي:

[6] زياد، على، التحولات الكبرى في الشرق الأوسط، جريدة الحياة اللندنية، بتاريخ 28/1/2017، على الرابط التالي:

[7] تقرير صحفي، بعنوان: البايس: نتائج عكسية لحصار قطر.. وإيران الرابح الأبرز، موقع عربي 21، بتاريخ 11/7/2017، على الرابط التالي:

[8] التميمي، ناصر، دراسة بعنوان: الأزمة الخليجية وتداعياتها على مستقبل مجلس التعاون، مركز دراسات الجزيرة، بتاريخ 14/2017، على الرابط:

[9] إبراهيم، نصر الدين، مقال بعنوان: تداعيات الأزمة الخليجية …سورياً، مؤسسة بيرا الإعلامية، بتاريخ 18/7/2017، على الرابط  التالي:

[10] الشامي، فرات، تداعيات الأزمة الخليجية على الملف السوري، جريدة الأيام السورية، بتاريخ 14/8/2017، على الرابط التالي:

[11] حاتم، عبد الله: هل تدفع الأزمة السورية ثمن الخلاف الخليجي؟، موقع الخليج أون لاين ، بتاريخ 15/6/2017، على الرابط التالي:

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