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New Horizons for Regional Economic Diplomacy in the Persian Gulf

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

Mehran Haghirian

Bourse & Bazaar Foundation

March 9, 2022

To date, research and convenings on Iran-Arab relations have been predominantly focused on political issues and security tensions, including sectarianism and proxy wars. The ways that shared economic incentives could chart a path towards more constructive regional ties have been largely overlooked. This report analyses the new geopolitical developments and foreign policy shifts in the region to identify the drivers behind the new horizons for regional diplomacy and the potentials for regional economic integration. The objective of this report is to assess whether regional economic integration can support regional diplomacy and is conducive to better outcomes in the political and security dialogues now underway. This report draws on the perspectives of 24 policymakers, analysts and scholars to assess the feasibility of using regional economic integration to support more constructive bilateral and multilateral relations between Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These perspectives were gathered through individual research interviews and a half-day online workshop conducted in November 2021, held under the Chatham House Rule.

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