The Caucasus has long been caught up in the rivalry between Russia and the West, as the two sides pursue often conflicting interests in the region. But Gulf countries, too, have in recent years been actively courting countries in the Caucasus. And now, with a dramatic rift between Qatar and several of its neighbors, will that spill over into a sort of Arab Great Game in the Caucasus?
The Gulf and the Caucasus have increasingly become intertwined, both politically and economically. In just the last three months, the Saudi State Minister for Gulf Affairs visited Azerbaijan three times. The first reported visit was in March, just weeks after Qatar hosted Ilham Aliyev. The second and third were in May, with the latest just last week. The Saudi ministry was only established last October with the apparent purpose of rallying regional countries behind Saudi Arabia in its conflict with Iran, and presumably also Qatar.
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