As the Coronavirus Pandemic tore through the world this spring, it resulted in sharply lower demand for oil, driving down prices. Added to this, Russia and Saudi Arabia got into an oil price war that brought the price of oil to near historic low levels.
Needless to say, the low price of oil has deeply impacted countries in the region who rely on oil wealth. This includes not only oil-rich gulf countries, but also governments and other groups that rely on aid derived from oil largesse.
My guest today, Mohammed Soliman is a Non-Resident Scholar with the Middle East Institute and a member of the McLarty Associates MENA Practice. We kick off discussing how wealthy Gulf states like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar used their oil wealth in the wake of the Arab Spring to shore up domestic stability and pursue their regional foreign policy goals. We then have an extended conversation about the ways in which COVID-19 and slumping oil prices are shaking up the foundations of the geopolitics of the Middle East.