Qatari rift not likely to end soon



Wed, 02 Aug 2017 - 06:40 GMT


Wed, 02 Aug 2017 - 06:40 GMT

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani – CC via Flickr/U.S. Department of State

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani – CC via Flickr/U.S. Department of State

CAIRO – 2 August 2017: Qatari Minister of State for Defense Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said dialogue is the only way to save the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC); however, the four countries leading the boycott against the tiny Gulf emirate said their list of 13 demands for Doha must be met before talks can be initiated.

However, if you think the Arab anti-terror quartet is to be blamed for sticking to the stand against Qatar, then think again; Qatar has brought its credibility level to a zero-trust level, as it repeatedly broke a number of agreements and commitments.

The anti-terror coalition cited Qatar’s support for terrorism as the main reason for cutting ties with the tiny Gulf emirate, insisting that Qatar violated a 2014 agreement with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

After months of tension between Qatar and GCC members, Gulf foreign ministers inked an agreement with Qatar in 2014, stating that GCC member states should not undermine the interests, security and stability of each other.

Tensions rose against Doha as it supported Egypt’s ousted Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi, while most Gulf countries hailed his overthrow after the June 30, 2013 revolution.

Soon after striking the agreement, Qatar began continuing what the agreement specifically prohibited; it kept on boosting ties with regional rival Iran, resumed Al Jazeera network activities in the region, and moreover, it financed and backed terrorist groups and individuals.

By going back to the 13-demand list, the Arab Gulf spat is now back to square one, and Doha will only have to adhere to the demands in order for the crisis to get resolved.

Economic indicators are showing that Qatar's imports plummeted after most of its neighbors decided to cut ties with it. Moreover, Qatari foreign deposits at Qatari banks dropped to their lowest in about two years.

The Qatari non-oil economy is also witnessing unprecedented pressure, for it began using alternative trade routes.

The 13-point list, presented by Kuwait, which is helping mediate the crisis, insisted that Qatar must shut down Al Jazeera TV network, cut diplomatic ties with Iran, stop financing and supporting terror groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, and that it must end Turkey's military presence in Doha.

Top diplomats from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) told reporters at the U.N. on July 19 that the four countries no longer want Qatar to comply with the 13-point list; instead, they came up with six principles that Qatar must sign to in order for negotiations to start.

The six principles include denying safe havens and financing to terrorists, combating extreme forces and terrorism, stopping incitement of hatred and violence, and refraining from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. The principles were once again rejected by Qatar, leading the four countries to revert back to their original 13 demands.

By reverting back to the original 13 demands, political science professor at Kuwait University Abdullah Al-Shayji told Bloomberg that the Qatari crisis is now back to square one and is actually escalating.

Bloomberg data showed that cutting ties with Qatar has forced the oil-rich emirate to seek alternative, yet more expensive, routes for trade, while its imports dropped in June 2017 by 40 percent compared to the same period in June 2016.

Moreover, Qatar said it had filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization to challenge the "boycott", just a day after the four Arab states reverted back to the 13-demand list, formally requesting consultation with the three Gulf countries.

There was no immediate reaction from the Arab quartet to Qatar's WTO complaint, yet.



Leave a Comment

Be Social