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The Middle East
Gulf States Rethink Their PR Wars

The Gulf States are spending millions of dollars to influence U.S. public opinion amidst the Qatar crisis, but is it worth the cost?

Published on: September 4, 2017
Joseph Braude’s new book, Broadcasting Change: Arabic Media as a Catalyst for Liberalism, will be published by Rowman & Littlefield in December.
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  • Kevin

    Interesting and well done article.

    It seems to me that this is one of the few instances where a conflict could be resolved via outside diplomatic intervention. There’s an opportunity for Trump and/or Tillerson to get the parryies together and agree on some “rules of the road” and deesscalate what’s becoming a no-win mess.

    • Ellen

      The crown prince of KSA, who started the boycott of Qatar and convinced the UAE to go along, is doing for this for an indirect reason. He genuinely hates the Al-Thanis, and they despise the Sauds. That is all real and a lot of it is petty rivalry and competition for being the most important oil sheikh in the Gulf. Nonetheless, consider what a failure the prince has been on every issue of foreign policy and his signature economic reform plan domestically. It must be very galling for him to watch the Al-Thanis outsurvive the Al Sauds during this period of oil price collapse. He can’t abide the thought that the House of Saud will either lose its money or lose its power in KSA, while the alThani’s will be sitting pretty for decades to come with both money and power.

      This way, he forces Qatar to burn away its surplus wealth by spending much more than normal to evade the boycott, and eventually enraging its citizen population and its guest worker population. After a certain point, the prince believes the Al-Thani’s will be forced to abdicate and flee the country. Then, even if the Sauds are forced to do the same, at least it will be an equality of misery and outcome. I believe this is the real game here. The prince cannot agree to give in now, without extracting some blood from the Al-Thanis. If he does, he will look like a real big loser on this issue as well as Syria, Iran, Yemen, and economic reform.

      • Twistedtory

        Another shill for the Qataris or someone drunk on their koolaid? Doesn’t really matter, the result is the same: promoting distractions from the very real issue of Qatar’s support for terrorism. Everything else they try to insert into the debate is irrelevant and those who subscribe to it pawns in their game. The victims and survivors of terrorism deserve better.

        • Ellen

          Right. All good points.

  • Isaiah6020

    Why would the author want the amount of spending in the US to decrease? I hope it triples. Money in the economy and all that.

  • FriendlyGoat

    The answer from American citizens to millions of dollars of PR from gulf states to influence us should be simple: “Ah, fuggedaboudit, if any of your governments had any sense, Islam would be a dead religion only found in history books.”

  • Sometimes our friends make me more uneasy than our enemies.

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