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January 5 this year marked a historical turning point in the Gulf region. The 41st summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ula ended a three-year blockade on Qatar imposed by the “Arab Quartet” (Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE). An iconic picture of the Qatari emir being welcomed by the Saudi crown prince at the airport sent a frenzy of reactions. The event raised many questions. For instance, do the recent changes mean that the years of social, economic, political damage can suddenly be undone?
How—and why—the blockade ended
As a result of the summit, the Quartet dropped its 13 demands, which were first issued in 2017. Doha had previously been asked to take a series of drastic steps...
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