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The Year Ahead

As Mideast Rivalries Cool, Leverage Begins to Shift

Closer relations are upending the region’s politics.

relates to As Mideast Rivalries Cool, Leverage Begins to Shift
Photo illustration: 731; Photos: Getty Images (2), Polaris (1)

In a part of the world where stability and predictability are elusive, 2021 ended much the way it started: with surprise reconciliations among regional rivals and the prospect of more.

In January 2021, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman invited Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Qatari emir, to a Gulf summit, where they signed an agreement ending the three-year-plus boycott of Qatar that the kingdom had led.