Over the past decade, Gulf Arab states have played a more assertive role in regional and global affairs, amid a growing perception that the United States is withdrawing from the region. Sensing an opportunity, a number of regional and global powers have moved quickly to develop more robust relationships with Gulf Arab countries. In particular, new defense and security cooperation schemes have emerged, notably with Russia and China, as well as with Egypt and Turkey.
What is driving the strategic calculations of outside powers as they cultivate greater influence in the region? What is behind the Gulf countries’ efforts to look beyond the United States and European partners for new defense and security partnerships? Have these new relationships resulted in a diversified arms procurement strategy for the Gulf states? And have these new relationships enabled the Gulf countries to play a more active and independent role on the regional and world stage? Where do these developments leave the United States and major European partners and their special relationships in the region amid increased competition with Russia and China?