- Editor's Note
The crisis within the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (or the Gulf Cooperation Council), between Qatar and its neighbors, is a microcosm of the deepening polarization in the region as Iran and Saudi Arabia seek to cement their regional alliances. It thus seems appropriate that three of the five articles in this issue deal with aspects of the Gulf states.
Zahra Babar, Associate Director for Research at the Center for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University in Qatar, discusses the impact of the Arab Spring on the GCC states and the use of citizenship revocation as a means of containing and punishing dissent. The threat of stripping citizens of their citizenship is one of the means by which the GCC states weathered the waves of dissent produced by the tumultuous uprisings of 2011.
David B. Roberts, Assistant Professor in the School of Security Studies at King's College London, takes a comparative look at how two of these states, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, responded to the activism of the Arab Spring. Despite many similarities between the two countries, their responses were different, with Qatar aligning itself with the Muslim Brotherhood and the UAE opposing it. Roberts analyzes the multiple influences that produced these differing responses.
Miriam R. Lowi, Professor of Comparative and Middle East Politics at The College of New Jersey, offers a different sort of study focusing on four of the six GCC states (excluding Bahrain and the UAE) and how these oil-rich states use Islamic principles of justice and charity, in tandem with their hydrocarbon wealth, to strengthen their legitimacy. It is a complex study of a sometimes controversial subject.
Moving away from the Gulf, Yoosef Abbas Zadeh of the University of Southampton and Sherko Kirmanj, Visiting Senior Lecturer at the Universiti Utara Malaysia, wrote their article on the foreign policy of the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq. The article has been updated to take into account the recent referendum on Kurdish independence in September and the ongoing dispute between the KRG and the Iraqi government over the disputed territories of the Kirkuk region. Abbas Zadeh and Kirmanj analyze what political scientists have come to call the "paradiplomacy" of the KRG, which conducted its own foreign policy despite not having independence.
Finally, Professor Joseph Sassoon of Georgetown University and Georgetown PhD candidate Alissa Walter have mined captured Iraqi documents from the 1990–91 Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, providing an inside view of an oft-overlooked part of the Gulf War: how Iraq actually governed Kuwait. It is an illuminating insight into how the Iraqi occupation functioned, extending the totalitarianism and repression of Saddam Husayn's Ba'th regime into new territory.
In addition, you will find the usual full range of book reviews and our quarterly Chronology. Between issues I would remind you that there is a wealth of content on the Middle East Institute's website at www.mei.edu, as well as my MEI Editor's Blog accessible through the website or directly at https://mideasti.blogspot.com/.