The lead US envoy on international negotiations with Iran to limit Tehran’s nuclear program will head to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in a few days to discuss backup plans with Washington’s allies should the negotiations fail.
Gulf countries are world leaders in using worker mobility to fill employment gaps, a history that may serve them well as their populations age along with the rest of the planet and competition for immigrants intensifies. That said, the traditional model of immigration into much of the region has been temporary, and has involved considerable restrictions on the rights and opportunities of the migrants. Some Gulf countries are recognizing the need for change towards models that give migrants more autonomy, a necessary and welcome development.
Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, image via Wikimedia Commons
The Gulf states will closely monitor the way Russia and China handle the perceived security vacuum in the wake of the US withdrawal and abandonment, for all practical purposes, of Central Asia. They wish to determine to what degree those countries might be viable alternatives for a no longer reliable US security umbrella in the Middle East. They are also likely to push to strengthen regional alliances, especially with Israel.