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“Not good for business,” as Gulf states rush to stop a larger conflict

“Bad for business”: Gulf states rush to stop escalating hostilities with Iran and the Zionist organization that threaten their security and aspirational plans to transform their economies. DUBAI: Gulf states are struggling to stop the growing Middle East conflict. The leaders of the resource-rich Gulf monarchies launched a swift diplomatic offensive in response to the Iranian drone and missile strikes on the Zionist entity last weekend, which raised the possibility of a regional conflict.

The desert nations are situated on the other side of the Gulf from Iran, putting them right at the epicenter of the current crisis following months of unrest brought on by the Zionist-Hamas conflict in Gaza. The six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations are home to numerous US military installations. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have also previously been the targets of attacks on oil facilities by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are backed by Iran.

In the meantime, World Central Kitchen will receive a $3 million donation from the Starbucks Foundation and Alshaya Starbucks in support of humanitarian efforts in Gaza. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by the massive tragedy that is taking place in Gaza. We are extremely saddened by it. With these contributions, we hope to help and relieve the people of Gaza, as we are dedicated to helping our partners and neighborhood communities,” stated Mohammed Alshaya, Executive Chairman of the Alshaya Group.

Duncan Moir, president of Starbucks Europe, Middle East, and Africa, said, “We are heartbroken for all the people impacted by the situation in Gaza and the many people at risk of hunger.” Starbucks stated in a statement that it has always been about more than just coffee. “We’re dedicated to making a positive impact and encouraging others to do the same.”

According to Middle East analyst Andreas Krieg of King’s College London, “the Gulf countries share an overall realization that conflict is bad for business and avoiding conflict comes now almost at any cost.” The Iranian president and Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani discussed the “need to reduce all forms of escalation and avoid the expansion of conflict in the region” on Monday, according to the official Qatar News Agency.

Additionally, according to state media, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had a conversation with Iraq’s prime minister on Sunday while UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed spoke with the kings of Jordan and Bahrain, as well as the Amir of Qatar. The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia had a conversation with his Iranian counterpart, while the defense ministers of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had separate talks with their US counterparts.

Rich, US-friendly Gulf states have a lot on the line. Their costly plans for economic diversification, designed to secure their post-fossil fuel futures, depend on a tranquil business and tourism environment. With hundreds of billions pledged for new cities and recreational facilities as part of Prince Mohammed’s flagship Vision 2030 economic transformation plan, Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, has been the biggest spender.

Saudi analyst Ali Shihabi told AFP that “Saudi’s top priority is that the crisis does not escalate,” highlighting the vulnerability of the Gulf. Tehran may “be tempted to retaliate against the GCC given its close proximity and wealth of targets (that are) difficult to protect” in the event of an attack on Iran. “The GCC, with its proximity and massive size compared to (the Zionist entity), is a different story, but Iran has just learned how difficult it is to target the Zionist entity, thousands of miles away,” he continued.

Saudi Arabia benefits from its influence over the US, which is pressuring it to recognize the Zionist entity like Bahrain and the UAE have done, as well as from the resumption of relations with Iran last year following a protracted break. Even the deadliest war in Gaza’s history had stymied US attempts to mediate a normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Umer Karim, a Saudi foreign policy and politics researcher at the University of Birmingham in Britain, stated that Saudi Arabia “will be definitely pushing for the US to pressure (the Zionist entity) for a ceasefire in Gaza and also to not respond to Iranian attacks.”

Oman, which is near Iran, continues to be an essential mediator in the interim. Additionally, Krieg noted that Qatar has clout as the host of Al-Udeid, the largest US military installation in the area. “The Omanis have deeper networks and are probably the more effective mediator when it comes to anything to do with the Strait of Hormuz or Bab Al-Mandeb,” he said, alluding to important waterways in the Red Sea and the Gulf.

“How important that relationship has been… in creating a response from Iran that is, I would say, still quite measured,” he said, claiming that the US had not given Gulf mediators “enough credit.” Krieg stated, “Qatar is very particular because of Al-Udeid,” adding that Doha would probably keep “telling the Americans they can’t use their bases or airspace to launch attacks against Iran.” “It will be extremely challenging for the United States to genuinely support (the Zionist organization) in a possible offensive attack within Iran,” he continued.

Although a US official stated that the US would not participate in any future Zionist counteroffensive against Iran, Washington has reiterated its “ironclad” support for the Zionist organization. Any more deterioration, in Karim’s opinion, would leave the Gulf with no viable options. “It is better for all Gulf States the sooner this conflict ends,” he declared.

With Iran and its allies on one side and the Zionist entity, supported by the US, on the other, and Gulf states vying for influence and status, the conflict is steadily reshaping the regional power structure. They are thus placed in a very difficult situation by an escalation since they are impacted regardless of whether they choose to support one of the two camps.- Agencies

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