Ports and Politics: UAE-Qatar Competition in the Mediterranean

Author
Camille Lons
Content Type
Commentary and Analysis
Institution
Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
Abstract
Once marginal in shaping the geopolitics of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, Gulf power projection and competition have become a central driver of the politics of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria since the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. The political turmoil that engulfed these states created both threats and opportunities for Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the rich and ambitious states of the Arabian Peninsula. Their involvement, which combined economic aid, political support and at times military assistance, was structured around their notion of what is the desired or acceptable role of Islamist movements in Arab politics. On the one hand, Qatar supports Islamist movements and most notably the Muslim Brotherhood as instruments of influence and popular appeal, while the UAE and Saudi Arabia perceive them as a security and ideological threat to their regional influence and domestic stability.
Topic
Politics, Regional Cooperation, Maritime, Strategic Competition, Rivalry
Political Geography
Libya, Syria, Egypt, Qatar, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Gulf Nations