In the second scenario, the lingering effects of the pandemic and the flatlining prices for fossil fuels lead to a ‘third wave’ of Arab revolts with the epicentre being in the gulf region. Monarchs in the Gulf states are forced into exile after social unrest, but the royals regroup while in exile to promote an ultraconservative agenda in the region. The desire to return to power in the region gives way to prolonged instability and it draws in third powers to the region. China takes advantage of the unrest in the area to establish a comprehensive strategic alliance with Iran and the GCC, especially when it comes to raw materials. What is more, as a result of the economic downturn and social instability, many countries now prioritize domestic matters over their overt engagement in the conflicts in Yemen and Syria. This inward-looking mindset encourages the importation of drones, surveillance, and digital technologies to flourish.
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