ABSTRACT

This study discusses European policies towards the Qatar crisis in the context of the evolution of broader past and present European policies towards the Gulf. It starts with a summary discussion of historical patterns of relations between Europe and the Gulf, before briefly sketching the major changes in the regional environment after the Second World War, beginning with the US supplanting the UK as the dominant hegemon, through to the changes wrought by Trump’s elevation to the US presidency. It then turns to a discussion of the effects of these changes for the Gulf and other regional states and their policy postures, before going on to 65examine the ways in which European states and the EU have interpreted and reacted to this changing environment. These reactions are often at one and the same time a reaction to the changes and uncertainties in US policy under Trump, since this changing US role is also a crucial ingredient both in the region and for Europe’s room for manoeuvre. Against this background, the study will outline European policies towards the Gulf theater in particular, focusing on Iran and the JCPOA nuclear deal, and the GCC (or Qatar) crisis –– while also briefly considering the Yemen crisis and the impact of Gulf competition on and in the Libyan theater. From October 2018, the Khashoggi affair added an additional dimension to the crisis, as did the renewed oil price crash amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic beginning in 2020.