According to experts, the imminent change of government in the USA is a decisive factor in reconciliation. Saudi Arabia and its allies fear that the US will withdraw from the region under President-elect Joe Biden – similar to what it did under Barack Obama. The GCC states are therefore more dependent on themselves and partners in the region for their security, says Dania Thafer, director of the Gulf International Forum in Washington. This also applies to Iran, Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival.
Trump had put pressure on
The administration of the outgoing US President Donald Trump had increased the pressure on Riyadh and Doha in the past few weeks, reported the news portal Axios. The reconciliation is a gesture to Trump, who had a good relationship with Saudi Arabia and who can book the agreement as a foreign policy success. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman wants to “appease” Biden’s team before he takes office on January 20, writes golf expert Juan Cole from the University of Michigan. Biden has announced a tougher line and an end to arms sales to Riyadh
The US military has numerous bases in the region. One of the largest and most important US air force bases in the world is in Qatar, where around 10,000 soldiers are stationed. According to the conservative Heritage Foundation, a total of 25,000 US soldiers are stationed in Kuwait, Bahrain and the Emirates.