In a July 22 article on The Washington Post’s politics blog, “Monkey Cage,” Associate Professor of Political Science Stacey Philbrick Yadav examines the role Oman might play in mediating current tensions among the Middle East countries that comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Her article — “Oman is a mediator in Yemen. Can it play the same role in Qatar?” — notes that Oman’s history as a neutral interlocutor, especially in the ongoing civil war in Yemen, “offers insight into its potential for mediating” the recent diplomatic rift between Qatar and other Gulf region countries.
“During my recent research in Oman, it was clear that while it has benefited from Qatar’s economic and political isolation, Oman’s ability to fully pursue these opportunities cannot not be considered in isolation of its ongoing efforts to broker peace in Yemen, nor its domestic economic environment,” writes Philbrick Yadav. In March, she was awarded a grant from the Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS) to support summer research on regional negotiations in Oman and Kuwait.
Between the Qatar crisis and the war in Yemen, “Oman’s commitment to neutrality in two simultaneous Gulf conflicts — one military, one diplomatic and economic — may be too much to bear long term,” she concludes. “To safeguard its neutrality in Yemen, Oman will therefore need to work quickly to put out the fire in Qatar.”
Philbrick Yadav, who has lived in Yemen and is a member of the executive committee of the American Institute of Yemeni Studies, has been writing about Yemen’s opposition politics for more than a decade. Since Yemen’s uprising in 2011, she’s published a book exploring the dynamics of Islamist activism and alliance building, and articles in several academic journals, including The International Journal of Middle East Studies and Middle East Report. She has previously published analysis of the Yemeni uprising and the country’s Islamist politics in Monkey Cage. In 2017, she was elected to the POMEPS steering committee.
A member of the HWS faculty since 2007, Philbrick Yadav earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in anthropology and Middle Eastern studies from Smith College, and has spent several years conducting field research in Yemen, Lebanon and Egypt. Before joining the Colleges, she taught at Mount Holyoke College, and in 2008 was a visiting scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies.