Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and especially since the major agreements on the liberalization of world trade in the early 1990s, the Gulf has experienced three decades of extraordinary economic growth and continuous expansion of its geopolitical role.
A quick glance at the map is enough to understand how the Arabian Peninsula is now the natural platform interconnecting the routes from the new Asian giants to the European market and across the Horn of Africa. One can easily see the strategic nature of the control and position of each of the countries bordering the two shipping routes there, the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab el-Mandeb.
The Gulf exports energy and organizes the logistics of Asian goods in transit to Europe through free-trade zones with major tax incentives. It has attracted investments, developed sophisticated financial services and exerts a growing fascination as a tourist destination with its iconic architecture and a dense calendar of sporting, musical and cultural events. The Dubai Expo in 2020 and the World Cup in Qatar in 2022 serve as proof of a long-desired centrality.