Mr. Guzansky, of the School of Political Sciences, Haifa University, and the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Tel Aviv University, is the co-editor of One Year of the Arab Spring: Regional and International Implications (INSS Publication 2012) and author of The Arab Gulf States and Reform in the Middle East: Between Iran and the "Arab Spring" (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2015).
This article analyzes the foreign-policy tools that Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman use in dealing with Iran. It argues that a policy of strategic hedging reduces the danger of conflict with Iran in the short term, while preserving contingency plans that address the severity of the threat and the uncertainty of the relationship in the long term. We could have expected that, because of their sense of threat, the small Gulf states would adopt a behavior of balancing Iran's power or, alternatively, of bandwagoning with it. However, these states have consciously chosen to adopt a "mixed" policy that includes elements of both methods. This stands in contrast to the assumption, widespread in the international-relations field, that they would choose to either balance1 or bandwagon as a way of coping with threats.2
THE GCC AND IRAN
The undermining of the regional status quo in the wake of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War increased the anxiety of Saudi Arabia and the smaller Gulf states. They realized that a regional institution including a framework for security cooperation was needed. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was the result of processes that had started before the British withdrawal in 1971. Its goal, as declared in its founding charter, was "to effect coordination, cooperation and integration in all fields."3 The GCC was also an expression of common interests: the monarchical character of the regimes, their religious ties as Muslims and as Sunnis, their common Arab origin, and their concerns about revolutionary, Shia, non-Arab Iran. However, the fraternity and public solidarity shown by the organization's leaders somewhat obscured their competing and contradictory interests and differing views of the strategic environment.
An examination of the GCC through the theory of alliances is instructive: the trigger for its establishment was security, and there is a security component in relations among the states,4 even if the organization does not easily conform to the existing definitions in this field.5 What distinguishes alliances (in the case of the GCC, a defensive one) from other associations, such as alignments and coalitions, is the formal or informal commitment to security cooperation that is given over time and is not necessarily dependent on a specific event or the alliance's security context. It is also important to examine the security frameworks that exist throughout the developing world, as most of the research on this subject is based on observations made in the western hemisphere.
The survey below reflects the basic concerns of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the UAE and Bahrain over cooperation with Iran while attempting to preserve the framework of the GCC, which was established to a large extent because of the Iranian threat. The assumption is that contrasting threat perceptions have made it difficult to establish a joint institutionalized security strategy, and that the cracks in their unity weaken the states' ability to act as a united bloc vis-à-vis Iran. Nevertheless, even when the perception of the Iranian threat, with its various dimensions of military buildup, nuclear ambitions, political subversion and terrorism is essentially agreed upon, each state has chosen to hedge in relation to the dimension or level of threat that it anticipates.
Kuwait has a long history of hedging, dating back to diplomatic maneuvering between the British Empire and the Ottomans and between Iraq and Iran. During these times, Kuwaiti leadership attempted to appease the different factions, while preserving local independence and assets.6 Kuwait's current approach to Iran is similar to Saudi Arabia's, leavened with considerable caution due to its geographic proximity to Iran, Iran's subversive activities and Kuwait's considerable Shia minority.7
Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait awakened nationalist feelings among the Shiites. Following the country's liberation from Iraqi occupation, they swore allegiance to Kuwait's ruling Al Sabah family, although many continue to have reservations about the move. During the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), Iran had attacked Kuwaiti territory, entering its airspace on several occasions; it was also apparently behind both the terrorist attacks in the country in the 1980s and later instances of subversion. The Kuwaiti response has been restrained, as it has sought to contain the incidents and prevent serious damage to its relations with Iran. The Iraqi invasion in August 1990 led Kuwait, along with its more northern GCC colleagues, which shared a fear of Iraq, to seek closeness to Iran, at least temporarily, as a counterweight to the power of Baghdad. The move, however, led to criticism by the more southern GCC states, which perceived Iran as the greater threat. Kuwait still sees Iran-influenced and Shia-dominated Iraq as a potential threat — greater now since the American withdrawal in December 2011. As a result, its steps toward normalization with Iraq remain slow.
Despite Iran's alleged negative activity, Kuwait continues to try to appease Tehran. It hosted the Iranian president in 2006 and openly supported his ambition for civil nuclear capabilities. Kuwait has declared that it will not serve as a base for an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities and that, in principle, it supports Iran's right to obtain nuclear energy for civilian purposes.8 Furthermore, in June 2014, Kuwaiti Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad, 30 percent of whose country's population is composed of Shiites, made a historic visit to Tehran, the first visit since the Islamic Revolution. Kuwait, which more than once has assumed the role of mediator and compromiser between the belligerents, regarded the visit as an opportunity to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia, but also to reduce the tension between it and Iran and to promote Iranian gas exports to the emirate.9 Kuwait's relations with Iran have been tense in recent years. As mentioned, Kuwait recognizes Iran's right to nuclear energy for peaceful uses, but at the same time, cooperates, with a few exceptions, with the sanctions regime against Iran and even expelled Iranian diplomats from its territory after accusing the "Quds Force" of subversive activity in Kuwait.10
Qatar has not been a target for Iranian subversion and has maintained close relations with Iran over the years, primarily as a sort of insurance policy. The palace coup of 1995 caused a rift between Doha and Riyadh and encouraged the new Qatari ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, to provoke the Saudis on border-dispute issues and by supporting anti-Saudi propaganda via the Qatari-based Al Jazeera network (and changing the tone when the Saudis turned more favorable to Qatari interests). As tensions built with the Saudis, Sheikh Hamad desired Iranian backing to insure the peaceful development of the Qatari natural-gas fields adjacent to Iranian territorial waters, and to break free from Saudi influence. In this sense, hedging with Iran can also be seen as balancing against Saudi Arabia. Iran, for its part, has viewed its relations with Qatar as a sort of bridge to the other Gulf states — to help improve its relations in the Gulf and push back the American sphere of influence while projecting Iranian resolve as a way to try and drive a wedge between the smaller Gulf states and Saudi Arabia.
Qatar, perhaps more than any other GCC state, perceived the collective-security arrangements attempted by the Arab Gulf states as hollow. Its troubled relations with Saudi Arabia also led to its only minimal participation in the security frameworks that were under Saudi influence. Most of its attention was given to balancing the power of its neighbors by strengthening its U.S. backing, particularly in the field of security. Arguably, the U.S. military presence in Qatar makes it easier for Doha to adopt an active foreign policy because it is confident that its national security will be maintained. Qatar is helping to strengthen its standing in the region through engagement in diplomatic and other forms of activism. This policy — a combination of opportunism, ambition and strategic maneuvering, backed by tremendous economic power and a willingness to use it for political purposes — along with the weakness of former centers of power inside and outside the region, has enabled the emirate to exploit a vacuum and reinforce its political position. By increasing its international profile, Qatar aims to protect itself from the perils of small-state vulnerability.11
Qatar's adoption of an ambitious international policy has alarmed both traditional adversaries and current allies. The role of political Islam and Doha's attitude toward the Muslim Brotherhood have also remained stumbling blocks in relations among the GCC states. On March 5, 2014, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar because of its support for the organization, which they see as jeopardizing their security and political stability (Kuwait did not join the move in order to serve as a go-between). Eight months later, the sides seem to have reached a modus vivendi that allows them to get past the most recent crisis, at least temporarily; they have agreed not to interfere in each other's internal affairs and not to undermine one another's interests or security.12
While Qatar pays lip service to the Gulf consensus (for example, on the issues of the three UAE islands occupied by Iran and the need to strengthen the joint military force), its policy on various issues, particularly concerning Iran, differs from that of the other GCC states. This independent policy stems from Qatar's desire to increase its regional importance and protect its natural resources.13 Its troubled relationship with Saudi Arabia has resulted in Qatar's minimal participation in every security framework under Saudi influence. Considered the "bad boy" of the Gulf, Qatar keeps one goal in mind: to remove itself as a potential target of Iran.14 It thus extended an invitation to the Iranian president in 2007 to attend the annual GCC summit meeting, held in Doha for the first time since the organization's founding.
Qatar has also avoided criticizing Iran publicly and has even worked to improve relations, including by means of a security-cooperation agreement and reciprocal visits. The two countries, for example, signed a comprehensive memorandum of understanding in 2010 that includes an expansion of cooperation in the War on Terror, and they have held limited joint naval exercises in the Gulf.15 Qatar continues to play all sides vying for supremacy in the Gulf. Although they are on opposite sides of the Syrian civil war, Qatar seeks to smooth things over now with Iran and to reduce any tension between the two countries.16
The UAE position toward Iran has been influenced over the years by geographic proximity, extensive commercial ties, the domestic Iranian population and, above all, Iran's systematic violation of UAE sovereignty over three strategic islands in the Gulf. The UAE strategy has been to draw closer to one of the less-threatening regional powers. During the Iran-Iraq War, it supported the latter, but Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 led to a measured rapprochement with Iran. The UAE population, mostly comprising foreign workers, is exposed to external subversion alongside escalating Iranian rhetoric and increasing capabilities and ambitions (including the kidnapping and assassination of political dissidents on UAE soil), which are causes for concern in Dubai.17
The UAE favors a diplomatic approach toward Iran, the common interest of both sides being to contain their conflict. Iran also does not wish to attract unnecessary attention: it is already under international pressure. The UAE is aware of the limitations of its own power and wishes to separate the issue of the disputed islands from the other subjects, mainly economic, on the agenda. The UAE, Iran's largest trading partner along with China, sees maintaining open commercial ties with Iran as a sort of insurance policy. But Dubai, which is primarily responsible for trade with Iran, is host to around 400,000 Iranian nationals, and Abu Dhabi has long asserted that that large Iranian-origin community could pose a "fifth column" threat to UAE stability.18 Although Abu Dhabi, the strongest and wealthiest of the seven emirates, has taken a harder line toward Iran, there is a desire to prevent a rift. The UAE went so far as to host President Ahmadinejad in Dubai in 2007, the first visit of its kind by an Iranian president since the Islamic Revolution.
Despite the economic setback it has suffered, the federation supported, with few exceptions, the regime of sanctions against Iran, gave the United States political support (and military support, mainly by providing access to bases in its territory) against the Iranian nuclear program. It even increased the pace of oil production in its territory at various times in order to make up for the removal of Iranian oil from the market. As part of the Iranian "smile campaign," Foreign Minister Javad Zarif visited Abu Dhabi and Dubai in April 2014.19 He sought to soothe the federation's anxiety about the agreement between the major powers and Iran on the nuclear question and the reconciliation between Tehran and Washington, which the federation fears is liable to be at the expense of its own relationship with the United States. UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed, who visited Iran in November 2013, went so far as to call Iran a "strategic partner."20
Bahrain has been worried about the Islamic Republic's intentions as a result of the ongoing Iranian claim to sovereignty over Bahrain as one of its districts. Bahrain's proximity to Iran and its sectarian composition — a Sunni minority ruling over a Shiite majority — makes it an attractive target for negative Iranian intervention. There have been periods of tension between the two, especially over Tehran's support for Shiite opposition organizations and attempts at subversion. Bahrain sees Iran as a primary threat to its national security and views domestic and Iraqi Shiite subversion as Iranian driven. Bahrain, therefore, is making efforts to strengthen its alliance networks with the West (including hosting the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet) as well as bolster the GCC joint stance against Iran. Bahrain's size, location, delicate sectarian balance and depleted energy resources have turned it into a prominent supporter of increased cooperation and integration within the GCC. Bahrain's neighbors, fearing similar problems, particularly among their own Shiite populations, have provided assistance over the years and tend to perceive its struggle as their own.
This is especially true of Saudi Arabia, with which the House of Khalifa is closest geographically and historically, as well as by ties of intermarriage. It was, therefore, unsurprising that, in March 2011, the Saudis dispatched the majority of the "joint Peninsula Shield" forces — along with some from the UAE and a token naval force from Kuwait — to protect Bahrain during its encounter with what is commonly known as the Arab Spring. These troops were meant not only to prevent Shiite rebels from threatening the Khalifahs' rule, but also to signal to Iran that Bahrain is in Saudi Arabia's sphere of influence. Bahrain, for its part, recognizes Saudi protection and appreciates the fact that the kingdom has been supplying it with oil since its domestic resources have been depleted. Bahrain's behavior, however, more closely represents a policy of balancing against Iran or, alternatively, bandwagoning with Saudi Arabia, and is not a true example of hedging. Nevertheless, although it follows a pro-Saudi foreign policy in order to avert Iranian aggression, Bahrain allows Iranian businesses to operate in its territory, avoids criticizing Iran publicly, and frequently announces it will not allow its territory to be used for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. Bahrain has also signed a substantial gas deal with the Iranians, investing approximately $4 billion over the course of the next 25 years in the hope of solidifying and normalizing its relations with Iran.21
This tiny kingdom advocates a more aggressive line than its fellow Gulf states towards Iran, accusing it (usually not explicitly) of supporting the Shiite opposition in its territory and even of subversion and attempted terrorist attacks.22 These accusations were supported to some degree by the U.S. State Department, which cited in an April 2014 report Iranian attempts to deliver weapons to Shiite groups in Bahrain.23 Bahrain's policy towards Iran is affected not only by the Sunni royal house's problematic relations with the 70 percent Shiite majority in the country, but also by the influence of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain's regional patron and Tehran's main ideological and geopolitical competitor, on Manama. Bahrain publicly supports Iran's right to nuclear energy for peaceful uses and has expressed support in principle for the interim agreement between Iran and the major powers on the nuclear issue (November 2013). The tiny monarchy has, however, expressed concern that the agreement signed with Iran will bolster the latter's influence on the Shiites in its territory and reduce the American commitment to its security.24
Under Sultan Qaboos, Oman has managed to maintain cordial and fruitful relations with seemingly all parties in the region. It was the first to accept an American military presence in 1980, while refusing to ostracize Iran, claiming that "a nation of 65 million cannot be isolated."25 Unsurprisingly, Oman's relations with Iran are relatively close, with extensive commercial ties and even security connections that have grown in recent years. The sultanate generally maintains a policy that stands outside the GCC consensus. It was, for example, the first GCC state to establish commercial ties with Israel and enjoys American military hardware and technology. Sultan Qaboos prefers to "sit on the fence" while displaying a strong sense of cautious pragmatism.26
Sultan Qaboos's unique foreign policy reflects Oman's strategic location, sharing the Strait of Hormuz with Iran, and its relatively modest economic and military capabilities. Another factor is the culture of "conservatism and tolerance" represented by the Ibadi, who identify themselves as Muslims but are neither Sunni nor Shia.27 In recent years, as Iran has increasingly projected an image of strength in the Gulf, a trend toward further rapprochement between Oman and Iran has become evident, perhaps a hint of the behavior that can be expected from other states in the Gulf if and when Iran obtains a nuclear capability. In this context, Sultan Qaboos even made an official visit to Iran in August 2009 after Ahmadinejad was sworn in for his second term, the first by the Omani sultan since the establishment of the Islamic Republic. The two parties signed a number of agreements, including one regarding security cooperation (another was signed in August 2010). In addition, the sultanate has held joint maneuvers and exercises with Iran, and Iranian ships sometimes dock in Omani ports.28
Rouhani's visit to Oman in March 2014 was his first official visit to an Arab country since becoming president. In August 2013, the ailing Sultan Qaboos made the first visit of any head of state to Iran after Rouhani was elected. During his visit, Qaboos again offered the "good services" of his country, this time in secret mediation between the United States and Iran on the nuclear issue. Oman has maintained closer ties with Iran than its neighbors ever since Iran helped Qaboos consolidate his rule and crush the rebellion against him in Dhofar. Oman — home to a small Shiite community, making it difficult for Iran to intervene there — is also exploiting its relations with Tehran as a lever against Saudi Arabia, whose political and religious influence Oman wishes to restrain. Oman and Iran, which jointly hold the key to the Persian Gulf and the world's most important chokepoint — the Strait of Hormuz — further tightened their political and economic relations after Rouhani was elected. In December 2013, a letter of understanding was signed for Oman's imports of Iranian gas. Talks about laying a gas pipeline between the two countries were restarted, and the possibility of building a bridge connecting the two countries over the strait was mentioned.29
Oman, like Qatar, is engaging in the highest level of hedging among the smaller Gulf states. It believes that its ability to maneuver diplomatically, its maintenance of open channels of communication with all parties, and its close ties with the countries that threaten it, have led to recognition of its regional and international status, thereby reducing the risks to its national security. It has been aided in this by its opposition to aggressive measures against Iran and its efforts to tone down GCC decisions against the Islamic Republic. Oman's role as a mediator in the negotiations between Iran and the West is derived from its conflict-avoidance approach. Its seemingly neutral posture reinforced the importance of the sultanate as a unique geopolitical actor and a bridge between the different aspirations of regional and global powers.30
The trust of both sides allows Oman, perhaps more than any other actor in the arena, to play these decisive roles and pass messages between the sides on various issues. However, the rest of the GCC states may try to interfere with Qaboos's will to compromise with the Iranians.31 Furthermore, the Saudi initiative to turn the GCC into a union has come up against resistance, principally from Oman: "We are against a union," Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi said on the eve of the thirty-fourth GCC summit. "We will not prevent a union, but if it happens we will not be part of it," Bin Alawi added.32 This rare public refusal, as well as the fact that, to date, progress has not gotten off the ground, indicates the deep divisions among the six states, three-and-a-half decades after the establishment of the GCC. Moreover, when the last GCC summit was held, Saudi Arabia was already angry at Oman because of its role in mediating between the United States and Iran behind the scenes and in jumpstarting the negotiations with Iran.33
EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL CALCULATIONS
The GCC's security is closely connected to the dependence of the Gulf states on outside protection and the necessity for foreign actors to have access to the Gulf economy. Since their independence, the Gulf states have been buyers, rather than suppliers, of security. Their lack of strategic depth, built-in military weakness and hostile neighbors have led the Gulf states to increasingly rely on British, and later, American military presence for deterrence and defense. U.S. involvement in the Gulf has included regular arms sales, the prepositioning of equipment, ongoing training and preparation, the establishment of central bases and even direct military intervention. "Passing the buck" to Washington has made it easier for the Gulf monarchies to adopt a policy of hedging toward Iran.
Four years into the Arab Spring, self-interested elites are willing to support each other, believing that this will reinforce the rule of (Sunni) monarchies. The competition between Iran and Saudi Arabia set the Gulf's security agenda, with the smaller Gulf monarchies maneuvering between them.34 Indeed, this policy reflects these states' need to balance their desire to avoid direct confrontation with Iran against their fear of Saudi domination. The Gulf states are concerned that Saudi Arabia is attempting to increase its influence over the small sheikdoms and force them to fall into line with Saudi foreign policy. (Bahrain tends to side with Saudi Arabia, particularly because Iran foments tension between Bahrain's Shiite majority and the Sunni royal house, but also because of historical, geographic and familial ties.) As a result, Saudi Arabia has not yet succeeded in promoting this or previous initiatives to unite the monarchies — such as turning the GCC into a "single entity"35 or bringing Jordan and Morocco into the GCC36 — due to opposition from the other members, whether because of the economic burden involved or because of possible harm to their status in the organization.
PROS AND CONS OF HEDGING
Between total defection and full cooperation, a sphere of maneuver exists that states can exploit in order to improve their security situation. Because they cannot be fully convinced as to the intentions of their allies and because their interests will never overlap entirely, they often use strategic hedging. Less than full cooperation with an ally and a certain amount of independence in foreign relations is likely to be a beneficial course for the small power, if it is seeking to create the impression that it might reconsider its policy toward a state that its ally perceives as a real or potential competitor. In the weak player's view, this is enough to create a lever against its stronger partners and improve its situation. However, in many cases, this is merely an attempt to manage and contain perceived threats.
The disadvantages of the hedging strategy are, nevertheless, considerable. It is liable to impair the effectiveness of the balancing process and, subsequently, that of alliance management. The states had the intention, even if it was not declared, to enter into a joint security venture. When the security of the region and the stability of the monarchies were endangered, this was necessary. For more than 33 years, the GCC maintained a considerable degree of coordination. In addition, a certain amount of cooperation has existed alongside an almost built-in lack of agreement among members who were working to maximize their individual security, impeding the establishment of an effective collective-security institution on the western side of the Gulf.
An important question in this context concerns the factors that allow this policy of hedging to continue over time. If the country harmed by such a strategy is a dominant player, it may force its weaker ally to reveal its intentions; that is, it may insist that it take costly action in order to clearly demonstrate which side it is on. In fact, this strategy is not without a price, as was demonstrated by relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Saudi Arabia and Oman. However, in a situation of high uncertainty with a narrow margin for error, an attempt to avoid harm and survive becomes primary, even if it comes at a high price and impairs the effectiveness of the alliances.
The smaller Gulf states do, to varying extents, hedge in dealing with Iran, sometimes even when the level of external pressure is high and alliance literature predicts high levels of cooperation. In spite of the advantages that the monarchies may gain from this strategy, the desire to maintain as many options as possible is likely to be more costly. It requires resources to be sent in opposite directions, both bandwagoning with Iran and balancing against it. Furthermore, the gain may be small; if the inputs are not invested in the best way, the investment can go down the drain. The argument behind the strategy of hedging is that it contributes to the security of states as individual units, even if indirectly it could actually weaken the effectiveness of alliances.
The rationale behind this strategy is understandable. As noted, it allows the five to maintain much of their overall relationship with the actor most threatening to them. They thereby reduce the danger of conflict in the short term (preventing a self-fulfilling prophecy), while maintaining contingency plans that respond to the level of the threat from this actor and the uncertainty concerning relations with it in the long term. Additional findings also fit with this strategy: an unwillingness to use military force could be fed by an approach to security using other means, primarily diplomatic and economic, and by other outside actors. The GCC, as a regional institution, has lasted precisely because of this freedom of action given to its members, though it does harm its cohesion and, hence, its balancing effectiveness.
REFINING THE CONCEPT
While the concept of hedging is not completely foreign to International Relations (IR) theory, it has yet to be sufficiently developed.37 It is a situation in which states seek "to strike a middle ground."38 A strategy of hedging is suited to an anarchic system; it allows a small power, interested in immediate gain, to offset risks and improve its situation in relation to the rising power while avoiding a major confrontation. In the present context, the strategy makes it possible to maintain significant ties with the threatening force and, at the same time, to form alliances to balance the impending threat.
A strategy of hedging is more than sitting on the fence in order to extort concessions from allies and maintaining ambassadors in each other's capitals. Qatar and Oman, which have considerable economic and security cooperation with Iran, are seen in the eyes of their allies as making active efforts to undermine Saudi Arabia's position, strength and even security. This policy includes taking active measures; in this, it is different from a policy of mere neutrality, which includes commitments not to help, directly or indirectly, an adversary of an ally in the event of conflict between them. To the same extent, it is different from pure opportunism. It is a systematic strategy that focuses on the state's survival. For a weak state that adopts a policy of hedging, the ability to influence its senior partner is secondary to the security gained against the adversary.
The importance of the Gulf is well known because of the frequency and intensity of conflicts there, and it can serve as a laboratory for examining IR theories and various assumptions concerning the nature of global politics. However, for various reasons, the international relations of the area have not been adequately studied. The rationale behind strategic hedging appears simple and intuitive, but it must be refined and adjusted to the accepted terms in the field. This attempt to formulate a conceptualization and impose regularity on the subject was intended, therefore, to deal with a certain gap in the theory and to help clarify the strategic preferences of small powers.
1 Stephen Walt, Revolution and War (Cornell University Press, 1996), 33.
2 Randall Schweller, "Bandwagoning for Profit: Bringing the Revisionist State Back In," International Security 19, no. 1 (1994): 75-78.
3 Charter of the GCC, GCC Secretariat General, http://www.gcc-sg.org/eng/indexfc7a.html?action=Sec-Show&ID=1.
4 Joseph Kechichian, "The Gulf Cooperation Council: Search for Security," Third World Quarterly 7, no. 4 (1985); R.K. Ramazani, The Gulf Cooperation Council: Record and Analysis (Virginia University Press 1988); and David Priess, "Balance of Threat Theory and the Genesis of the Gulf Cooperation Council," Security Studies 5, no. 4 (1996).
5 Glenn H. Snyder, Alliance Politics (Cornell University Press, 1997), 4; and Stephen Walt, "Alliances in a Unipolar World," World Politics 61, no. 1 (January 2009): 86.
6 Jill Crystal, Oil and Politics in the Gulf: Rulers and Merchants in Kuwait and Qatar (Cambridge University Press 1990), 107.
7 "Iran Cell Planned Attacks in Kuwait, Minister Says," Reuters, April 21, 2011, http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/21/us-kuwait-iran-spying-idUSTRE73K3NO20110421.
8 Gregory Gause, The International Relations of the Persian Gulf (Cambridge University Press, 2010), 36.
9 "Kuwait Discusses Gas Imports with Iran," Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), June 2, 2014. http://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2380478&language=en.
10 "Iran Cell Planned Attacks," Reuters, April 21, 2011.
11 Lina Khatib, "Qatar's Foreign Policy: The Limits of Pragmatism," International Affairs 89, no. 2 (2013): 418-419.
12 "Saudi, UAE and Bahraini Envoys to Return to Qatar," Al Arabiya, November 16, 2014, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/11/16/Gulf-leaders-meet-in-Riyadh-for-surprise-GCC-meeting-.html.
13 Steven Wright, "Qatar," in Christopher Davidson, ed., Power and Politics in the Middle East Monarchies (Colombia University Press 2011), 127-131; and Allen Fromherz, Qatar: A Modern History (Georgetown University Press, 2012), 96-100.
14 Author's interview with a consultant to the emir of Qatar, Doha, May 2012. Also see Yoel Guzansky, The Arab Gulf States and Reform in the Middle East: Between Iran and the "Arab Spring" (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2015), 66-79.
15 "Iran, Qatar Discuss Implementation of Security Pact," Fars News, April 15, 2014, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13930126000748.
16 "Qatar Backs Syria Political Solution on Iran Visit," Al-Arabiya, February 27, 2014.
17 Willian A. Rugh, "The Foreign Policy of the United Arab Emirates," Middle East Journal 50, no. 1 (1996): 58-59.
18 Kenneth Katzman, The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy (Congressional Research Service, 2014), 19.
19 "Zarif Meets with UAE Prime Minister in Dubai," Daily Star (Lebanon), April 16, 2014, http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Apr-16/253466-zarif-meets-with-uae-prime-minister-in-dubai.ashx#axzz3KFvjdkrC.
20 "UAE Foreign Minister Hails 'Strategic' Relations with Iran," Middle East Monitor, April 16, 2014, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/10945-uae-foreign-minister-hails-strategic-relations-with-iran.
21 Kenneth Katzman, Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy (Congressional Research Service 2012), 9.
22 Frank Gardner, "Iran 'Set Up Bahrain Militant Cell,'" BBC News, February 20, 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-21522074.
23 Country Reports on Terrorism 2013, U.S. Department of State, April 2014, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2013/224826.htm.
24 Kenneth Katzman, "Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy," Congressional Research Service, July 31, 2014, 31.
25 Majid Al-Khalili, Oman's Foreign Policy: Foundation and Practice (Praeger Security International, 2009) 101.
26 Author's interview with a senior official in the Omani foreign ministry, Masqat, April 2011.
27 Jeffrey A. Lefebvre, "Oman's Foreign Policy in the Twenty-First Century," Middle East Policy 17, no. 1 (2010): 110.
28 Al-Khalili, Oman's Foreign Policy: Foundation and Practice, 107-8.
29 "Oman, Iran Plan Causeway over Hormuz," Gulf News, March 6, 2014, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/oman/oman-iran-plan-causeway-over-hormuz-1.1300526.
30 Shashank Bengali, "U.S. Iran Thaw Began with Months of Secret Meetings," LA Times, November 24, 2013, http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-1125-iran-tic-toc-20131125,0,2689052.story#axzz2leZ1wZy0.
31 Dahlia Kholaif, "Oman: No Gulf-wide Union for Us," Al Jazeera, December 15, 2013, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/12/oman-no-gulf-wide-union-us-2013121571431541941.html.
32 "Oman Will Withdraw from GCC If a Union Is Formed: Foreign Minister," National, December 7, 2013, http://www.thenational.ae/world/middle-east/oman-will-withdraw-from-gcc-if-a-union-is-formed-foreign-minister.
33 "Secret U.S.-Iran Talks Cleared Way for Historic Nuclear Deal," The Telegraph, November 24, 2013, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/10471030/Secret-US-Iran-talks-cleared-way-for-historic-nuclear-deal.html.
34 Gregory Gause, "The International Relations of the Persian Gulf," 7; and Joseph Kostiner, Conflict and Cooperation in the Gulf Region (VS Verlag Wiesbaden, 2009), 244-245.
35 "Saudi King Abdullah Calls for Formation of Gulf Union," Asharq al-Awsat, December 19, 2011, http://www.aawsat.net/2011/12/article55243928.
36 Sara Hadman, "Gulf Council Reaches Out to Morocco and Jordan," New York Times, May 25, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/26/world/middleeast/26iht-M26-GCC.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.
37 Evan S. Medeiros, "Strategic Hedging and the Future of Asia-Pacific Stability," Washington Quarterly 29, no. 1 (Winter 2005-06): 164.
38 Brock Tessman, "System Structure and State Strategy: Adding Hedging to the Menu," Security Studies 21, no. 1 (2012), 192-194.