On April 7, AGSIW hosted a discussion examining the complex interactions between the Gulf Arab states and the countries of the Horn of Africa.
Associate Fellow, King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies
Umer Karim is an associate fellow at the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies. He is also a doctoral researcher in the Department of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Birmingham. His academic research focuses on Saudi foreign policy and politics, in particular the Saudi regional policy outlook and the broader geopolitics of the Middle East. Karim’s work has appeared in academic journals and mainstream news sources alike.
The flare up between Iran and Pakistan may have been snuffed out quickly, but the scars it left on the Pakistani and Iranian security establishments may affect ties going forward.
The institutionalization of the Gulf-India partnership through the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor has solidified India’s shift away from Iran and toward the Gulf states.
A recent meeting between Qatar and the Taliban’s supreme leader shows that engagement with the Taliban’s leadership in Kandahar is a necessary but not always sufficient condition for progress.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have emerged as key players in the military confrontation in Sudan, highlighting the continued leverage of Gulf stakeholders across the Red Sea.
Pakistan hopes enhanced security ties with the Saudis will win it financial support. Cash-strapped Pakistan may have little choice but to hold out the possibility of a strategic defense partnership with Saudi Arabia.
A downturn in Taliban-Qatari ties has indirectly contributed to an increase in engagement between the Taliban and the United Arab Emirates, suggesting the UAE may become the new regional interlocutor with the Taliban.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is appealing to Gulf partners for essential economic support, which could serve as a political lifeline for the new government.
Iran’s relationship with its eastern neighbors, Afghanistan and Pakistan, has become particularly important since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, which has significantly altered the regional geopolitical landscape.
The reemergence of the Taliban is being treated cautiously in the broader Middle East. But the U.S. withdrawal may leave a unique political space for more engagement from the Gulf Arab states.
Gulf Engagement in Afghanistan’s Evolving Political Marketplace: Uneven Investment, Uncertain Prospects
Gulf countries have deep historical ties with Afghanistan. As the NATO mission comes to an end, they could have the influence to help stabilize Afghanistan and chart a course toward peace and reconciliation.