Volume 2021 Number 2
  • EISSN: 2223-506X


Since the sudden outbreak of what is known as the GCC crisis or the blockade on June 5, 2017, the four nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) involved in the conflict –the State of Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the Kingdom of Bahrain – have found themselves in a diplomatic race for the support of their position on the rift in traditional media, as well as on social media platforms. This paper focuses on the different ways the ministries of foreign affairs (MOFAs) and the ministers of foreign affairs (MFAs) used Twitter as an instrument of digital diplomacy during the first 100 days of the GCC crisis. In general, states tweet on a daily basis, and the ways in which a sovereign state presents itself online offers an insight into the patterns of representation of state identity, strategy, emotional expression, and recognition of others. This study is based on the content analysis of tweets created by the MOFAs and their respective MFAs of the GCC, with a focus on Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain over the first 100 days of the crisis (June 5, 2017–September 13, 2017).

This paper uses different types of tweets to examine the various kinds of political and diplomatic discourses perpetuated on Twitter by the GCC officials, in order to engage the online public sphere and navigate the domestic and international discourses. For example, if ministers engage in dialogue with their followers, then they are exercising a two-way digital diplomacy approach via Twitter. On the contrary, when they tweet about their bilateral meetings, it is an example of a one-way digital diplomacy approach, since they do not require any response from their followers. It was of specific interest to examine the differences of topic, content, and frequency of tweets, through the communication in Arabic and English. The study shows that the countries engaged in discourse around the topic of the blockade, but the type of discourse differed significantly depending on the state itself. While some chose to focus on the idea of legitimizing their stance on the topic of the blockade (i.e. Saudi Arabia), others were more direct in voicing their viewpoint, creating specific hashtags such as “#boycottQatar” (i.e. Bahrain). In addition, Qatar differed significantly in terms of the volume of tweets and the topic, tweeting often in both Arabic and English and shifting their focus towards affirming their strong diplomatic relations with countries outside the GCC, such as the Republic of Turkey. Overall, this study aims to compare the way the four GCC countries used Twitter, in order to engage their local and international communities to disseminate an image or a message.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): blockadeGulf Cooperation CouncilKhaleejiministry of foreign affairsQatar and Twitter
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