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UAE and Qatar compete as Saudi Arabia looks on

The United Arab Emirates and Qatar are pursuing opposing foreign policies in the Middle East that are fueling tension between the two Gulf states, as Saudi Arabia keeps its distance.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki (R) talks with Qatar's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah during an extraordinary session of the Arab League at the league's headquarters in Cairo July 14, 2014. Egypt launched an initiative on Monday to halt fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants, proposing a ceasefire to be followed by talks in Cairo on settling the conflict in which Gaza authorities say more than 170 people have died. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh  (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS C

The Gulf states have become the most stable and influential force in the Arab world, with the decline of the Egyptian role, the spread of turmoil and chaos in Syria and Iraq and Algeria's retreat on itself after the "black decade" of the 1990s. Because of political stability and increasing oil revenues, the Gulf states have accumulated financial wealth that has strengthened their political, economic and media influence in the region.

In light of the protection offered by the United States, the Gulf states have not been overly interested in a unified security policy — with the exception of Saudi Arabia. This contributed to Gulf states rushing to use their financial surpluses to produce foreign policies independent of their "sisters" in the Gulf. Doha has emerged to play regional roles in support of movements for change in the Arab world, particularly concerning political Islamic movements. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi has emerged as a key player in the Middle East, but in the opposing role of confrontation with movements of political Islam.

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