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Superpower and Small-State Mediation in the Qatar Gulf Crisis


The Qatar Gulf crisis of 2017 saw a number of mediation initiatives, including those of the United States and Kuwait. However, the two countries present two substantially distinct models of third-party intervention: superpower mediation (the United States) and small-state mediation (Kuwait). Comparing the two types of intervention in this crisis in terms of their ability to de-escalate tension and effectively resolve the Gulf crisis with respect to three variables – timing of mediation, leverage of the mediator (hard power versus legitimacy) and interest of the mediator – it would seem that small-state mediation has been more effective in crisis de-escalation, while superpower mediation has further exacerbated the crisis.
Keywords: Qatar crisis, mediation, Gulf, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia