Since the outbreak of the so-called Arab Spring in 2011, the regional system in the Middle East, as well as in the sub-regional system of the Arabian Gulf, has been in flux. Under these new circumstances, the order of the status quo has started to unravel, and a new order is being imposed, accompanied by new regional dynamics and security arrangements. Given their smallness, possession of significant resources, and geostrategic location, most of the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) were always vulnerable, because of either the disparity of their capabilities compared with stronger, larger, and aggressive neighbors or the demographic deficiency and general regional imbalance of power. Traditionally, and to preserve their security and stability, these states seek protection from external powers. This article investigates how small, rich states, such as the GCC countries interact, through the lens of structural realism.

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