Carlos COSTA NEVES (Portugal)
For a region which from the outside sometimes seems characterised by shared cultural and religious traditions, the Gulf has long been fraught with division and tensions. Given its central strategic importance as a global supplier of energy, its status as the centre of the Islamic world, its growing importance as a shipping and financial hub and its proximity to several highly unstable and war-torn countries including Yemen, these divisions are consequential for the Euro-Atlantic community and thus merit serious and sustained attention.
Tensions in the Middle East, and even among the Gulf monarchies themselves, have recently returned to the headlines. Political, social, economic and cultural change is buffeting the Gulf monarchies which greatly prize stability, in no small measure because enduring stability has proven so elusive. The Gulf has long been an object of struggle between great powers and a centre of sectarian tension. It has been threatened by war and foreign invasion and has also been an incubator for and a victim of terrorist movements (...)