Qatar versus Saudi Arabia: West’s dilemma

Mohsin Saleem Ullah

ONCE again Saudi Arabia has drawn the world into the flashback and historians to pen more, When back in 1969 both the countries, Saudi Arabia and Qatar fall short in bilateral relation, due to a dispute arising in connection with border, which took three years to settle down after reaching an agreement in 2001. That’s not all, 2014 also did not prove to be successful in establishing cordial diplomatic relations between the Arab countries, the rift took place after a meeting of the Gulf Corporation Council, held in March 2014 resulting United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain in recalling their respective ambassadors to Qatar. The history yet again has repeated itself this June, when Saudi Arabia along with its Gulf allies Egypt, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain; officially denounced their alliance with Qatar.
This coordinated move by the mentioned States has plunged the Arab world into a severe crisis of diplomatic relations ever experienced, isolating Qatar both physically and politically. The Gulf states have prohibited Qatari aircraft from passing through their airspace, and have also closed their land and sea borders for any in and out movements. In addition, Qatari diplomats and citizens have been given a two-week deadline to leave the Gulf states.
The situation has worsened to an extent, where it’s difficult to see this issue resolved in the near future, but it’s worth mentioning to say that the Saudis and its neighbor are playing the balls thrown by the West; accusing Doha, Qatar’s capital of supporting an Islamic state and Al Qaida.
Before 2011, few in the west were acquainted about Qatar, a tiny nation in Arabian Peninsula, which claimed the fame of being the richest per capita country in the entire world; thanks to the paucity of people and abundance of gas resources. The emirate had “too much money”, the Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh said in the blink of an eye before being ousted and needed to be a “major player” in the locale. It had incited a “conspiracy” against the Yemeni government to demonstrate a point, he contended. The foreigners began to observe the yearning emirate, and for some time articles on its remote strategy and land dealings (Qatar claims billions of pounds of London property, including the Shard and Harrods) proliferated.
It was difficult to realize what to make of Qatar. Since 2011, Doha has supported revolt bunches in Syria and Libya, additionally gave troops to subdue distress in neighbouring Bahrain. The disagreement was common of a nation that has worked a scattershot, autonomous and on occasion maddeningly inconsistent foreign policy, doing its best to punch over its weight wherever it can.
Qatar has one of the greatest American army bases in the Middle East, a strategic and operational center point that was pivotal to US operations in Iraq – operations of which al-Jazeera was and is a noticeable faultfinder. While keeping up relations with Washington, Doha has in like manner made sense of how to manufacture ranges with Iran, make ties with Hamas and Hezbollah – both allotted mental oppressor relationship by the US – and, for good measure, tried a defrost in relations with Israel.
Obviously, its way to deal with remote arrangement has rubbed some of Qatar’s apparent partners up the wrong way. “Qatar can’t be an American ally on Monday that sends money to Hamas on Tuesday,” John Kerry, at that point a US congressperson, said in 2009. Hacked email messages from Hillary Clinton fingered Qatar as a covert supporter of Isis “and other radical Sunni bunches in the locale”.
Qatar’s Gulf Arab neighbors are even less captivated of the quirky course diagrammed by Hamad canister Khalifa al-Thani, the emir who came to control in a bloodless upset in 1995. Hamad was viewed as a nonconformist who undermined Gulf solidarity and interfered in the undertakings of neighboring administrations.
Inlet Arab pioneers were cheerful that Hamad’s 2013 renouncement for his 33-year-old child Tamim would enhance matters, especially after the then Saudi lord Abdullah receptacle Abdulaziz summoned the youthful emir to Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh and requested promises of steadfastness. Be that as it may, by 2014, the Saudis were so rankled by Tamim’s proceeded with remote, adventurism that they, alongside other provincial partners, pulled their representatives from Doha.
Despite the fact that the ambassadors, in the long run, come back to their international safe havens, pressures were never legitimately settled – subsequently the advancements this week. The issue for Western pioneers is that the affirmations being made against Qatar bring into focus a more broad course of action of contradictions in their dealings with the Gulf states. Saudi Arabia has likewise been scrutinized, for instance, for its support of hardline Islamist groups in Syria. A spilled Clinton reminder named Riyadh as a supporter of radical Sunni civilian armies nearby Doha, and this week reports developed that a UK government report had recognized Saudi Arabia as a key backer of gatherings required in radicalizing youthful Britons.
In the meantime, the main problem for Riyadh and Abu Dhabi is less Doha’s sponsorship for radical gatherings as its association with the Muslim Brotherhood, its discretionary ties with Iran and the basic tone AL Jazeera regularly takes towards other Gulf states. Saudi Arabia considers itself to be the local Hegemon and is tired of Doha’s refusal to toe the line on outside arrangement.
This leaves western policymakers in a dubious position. Qatar is a noteworthy venture goal for the UK, the US and French vitality firms, who have furrowed billions of dollars into gas send out offices which, thus, assume a vital part in European and American vitality markets.
Doha is a gigantic financial specialist in abroad markets and has focused on burning through £5bn in the UK in the keep running up to Brexit. The US has 10,000 faculties at the Al-Udeid airbase and would battle to locate another home for its troops and planes. Not irrelevantly, Doha is intended to host the World Cup in 2022. Western forces can’t simply pick a side.
Barack Obama was disturbed by the inconsistencies of the US’s relations with the Gulf States, which he saw as cheating “free riders”. His successor, Donald Trump, tried heading out to Saudi Arabia on his first remote outing as a feature of a reset in relations with the Gulf governments – a move that may well have encouraged it to cut ties with Doha. Presently, he ought to deal with a diplomatic crisis that incapacitates to lift the top on the murkier side of that relationship.

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