Global Migration & Politics
Analysis and commentary on the politics of the Middle East, of the power games that defines the region, and the economic, religious and ethnic problems the region is often facing.

The day Qatar were left out in the cold

A number of Arab countries announced Monday that they interrupted diplomatic relations with Qatar because of the emirate’s interference in the internal political relations of those countries. But it’s a very risky move, writes Yasmin Abdel-Hak. Many other states are ready to embrace the influential oil country. If Saudi Arabia and its supporters had hoped for a complete isolation of Qatar, they could have made an account without host.

Yesterday, several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Maldives and the United Arab Emirates announced that they broke diplomatic relations with Qatar – allegedly because of the infighting state’s involvement in the internal political relations of those countries.

The conflict itself has its immediate starting point in a series of recent public statements from Qatar’s emir, who oppose Saudi Arabia’s policy in relation to the rivals Iran. Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of disloyalty over the Gulf Coast Association, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

And even though Qatar was quick to dement the statements and referred to the fact that there was a hacking of the country’s official news site, the news media in both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain continued persistently fake news. The intense news coverage was reportedly reported to several Qatar citizens to believe that a foreign-orchestrated state coup was on board in Qatar.

The conflict is in fact rooted in an annual conflict between Qatar and a large number of Arab neighbors and Gulf states. Qatar has succeeded in treating easily and elegantly in the famous spinach to most of its partners and neighboring countries.

Although the reason for breaking all cooperation with Qatar seems new, it actually has root in an annual conflict between Qatar and a large number of Arab neighbors and the Gulf states. Qatar has in every way managed to step up easily and elegantly in the famous spinach to most of their partners and neighboring countries.

Long dose list of Qatar’s alleged sins

Seen with Saudi Arabian glasses, it is a thorn in the eye that Qatar has insisted on maintaining cooperation with Saudi Arabia’s declared Archbishop No. 1, Iran. There is nothing that gives bonus points in the Saudi-dominated Gulf Coast Association, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the GCC.

Qatar has also clearly financed The Muslim Brotherhood </ and has given shelter to members of the Brotherhood who have fled from mixed Egypt and the United Arab Emirates; countries where the Brotherhood is considered a terrorist group.

The Emirate also finances and houses the Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera , which is believed by many Arab countries As controversial: Al-Jazeera is accused of calling for revolt in several of the Arab neighborhoods, and several of the channel’s correspondents are allegedly imprisoned in Egypt during the same charges.

In other words, it is easy to see why Qatar has done something unpopular in the Middle East.

However, since the dissatisfaction with Qatar has been pounding for years, the very actual reason for interrupting all diplomatic relations and closing airspace and land borders may seem somewhat unclear.

The official reason for Saudi Arabia’s hard reaction is that Qatar pose a threat to the country’s security and that its support for both the Muslim Brotherhood and IS / Daesh is considered an exporter of terrorism and extremism.

After all, it was just a news page that had been hacked, and the statements made against Saudi Arabian policy against Iran were – after the illuminated – fake. So why the ballad and why right now?

The official reason for Saudi Arabia’s reaction is that Qatar poses a threat to the country’s security and that its support for both the Muslim Brotherhood and IS/Daesh is considered an exporter of terrorism and extremism.

However, for even inaccurate in Saudi Arabia, this justification seems to be unaware. Saudi Arabia is known for the original financing of both Al Qaeda and IS/Isis / Daesh, as well as spreading Wahabism (the country’s own strict interpretation of Islam) to the end of the world. Irony is hard to overlook.

Dangerous game for Saudi Arabia

It is not the first time that these countries have expressed their dissatisfaction with Qatar’s policy. In 2014, several of the Gulf states pulled their ambassadors home from Qatar briefly.

But this time it’s not just a diplomatic game for the gallery. A closure of land borders and airspace signals a real isolation of the country. Citizens of Qatar with a stay in Saudi Arabia have 14 days to leave the country without access to return at a later date.

There is more to play than a diplomatic collapse of Qatar

The question is what Saudi Arabia really wants from Qatar to reopen the borders and resume diplomatic cooperation.

But the answer seems unclear right now. Perhaps it’s a desire to isolate Qatar in an attempt to weaken the country’s strong position in the region. However, it is a dangerous game, Saudi Arabia in that case.

Trump – an unpredictable joker in the Arab power game

Even though Qatar is an unimaginably small country with just 313,000 citizens and 2.3 million immigrants, it is, despite its geographically modest size, a particularly and disproportionately heavy geopolitical marker in the region thanks to its oil and natural gas reserves, which are counted among the worlds largest.

And if Qatar remains isolated by the countries concerned, there are other new business partners to turn against. The country already has close economic cooperation with Iran in the two countries’ joint major offshore gas reserves. The current conflict between Saudi Arabia and Qatar will, from an Iranian point of view, simply push Qatar into the arms of Tehran.

From a sensible-American perspective, it would not be appropriate to isolate Qatar with the risk of creating closer ties with Iran.

The recent visit by US President Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia, with a related weapon agreement at 300 billion dollars, has probably given Saudi Arabia some sense of self-confidence and expectation of US support.

But with an unpredictable US president at the helm there is no guarantee that Americans will back up a boycott. Especially not because Qatar is also considered a strong alliance for the United States. From a sensible-American perspective, it would not be appropriate to isolate Qatar with the risk of creating closer ties with Iran.

Nevertheless, in these Trump times, it is uncertain to predict an American reaction. All in all, it is still a very high game that Saudi Arabia plays.

Turkey and Russia are ready for cooperation with Qatar

Turkey and Russia, of course, are equally willing to cooperate with Qatar without Arab partners.

For Turkey, it would be a balancing act for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who, as an elephant in a glass store, has become unpopular in most places all the way from the EU to the United States and the Middle East, enjoying a unique favor in Saudi Arabia. It is doubtful whether it will be successful for him to master a balance between his current winners in Saudi Arabia and possible new friends in Qatar.

Russia will also see an obvious opportunity to get Qatar attached. It is just a matter of what interests – including, of course, economic – Qatar may have in this case.

What Qatar will do now will depend largely on the initial exercises of the surrounding actors to get acquainted with the country. If Saudi Arabia and the group of other Arab countries had hoped for a complete isolation of Qatar, they could have made an account without host.

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