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Ambreen Shabbir |

The Qatar-blockade, the diplomatic crisis of 2017 that jiggled the world in different ways, approached its 100 days. There has been no breakthrough in this bitter dispute since it started. Experts predicted this issue to go beyond 2018 as no prospects of dissolving the deadlock can be seen.

Recently, the Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, has called for UN to take action against the Saudi led bloc and labeled the blockade as a violation of international law and human rights. While delivering a speech at a UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, he stated that Qatar had to face numerous challenges owing to the ‘illegal imposition” by the Saudi-led bloc.

Though the blockade was deemed to impact Doha negatively, it had some upsides. It made Qatar move towards self-sufficient. Amid the only one land route closed

“These Gulf countries have taken illegal measures that constitute a grave violation of civil, economic and social human rights, including banning Qatari citizens traveling or transiting through their territories,” he said. “This has torn apart many families and has interrupted education and the right to work in Qatar.”

Read more: UAE ambassador’s hacked mails: Was Qatar crisis a hoax?

The issue started when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt stripped all ties with Qatar on June 5th. This step was later followed by Yemen, Libya, and Maldives. They announced to sever diplomatic ties along with suspending air, land and sea travel with Qatar. This action came in the face of the Saudi accusation on Qatar of supporting radical Islamic groups and also for enjoying close relations with Iran. The blockade was quite harmful to Qatar, for its only land border was closed by Saudi Arabia and other links, i.e. air and maritime routes were also suspended.

Qatar has also started working on its tourism to invite more and more travelers to the country. However, pundits consider this pleasant change to be short term

After severing ties, the bloc issued a 13 point list of demands that involved keeping limited relations with Iran, shutting down Al Jazeera and ousting Turkish troops from the country, conditioning this list with the lifting of the blockade. It was deemed to be alarming for Qatar. Although being the wealthiest state in the region, it depends upon imports by land and sea for its bare needs. 40% of the food in Qatar was imported through the land border with Saudi Arabia.

Read more: Iran sits pretty as the Qatar crisis continues to loom

As mentioned earlier, these steps were taken for the sake of making Qatar cave into the demands of the Saudi-led bloc i.e. to stop sponsoring terrorism and keeping the distance from Iran. There was an assumption that the Qatar would not be able to take the pressure and would yield in, however, it remained resilient. It labeled the blockade as an attack on its sovereignty. It also rejected the Saudi accusations and called them baseless.

There has been no breakthrough in this bitter dispute since it started. Experts predicted this issue to go beyond 2018 as no prospects of dissolving the deadlock can be seen

Notably, there exists a long-standing spat between Saudi Arabia and Qatar which transformed into a bitter rivalry. Earlier, in 2014, a diplomatic spat began when Bahrain, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia called their ambassadors from Doha. This spat lasted for eight months and according to the pundits, the recent spat surpasses the last one in magnitude so it would continue for a long time.

Nevertheless, the two member states of the Gulf Co-operation Council i.e. Kuwait and Oman did not cut ties with Qatar. Kuwait offered mediation in the dispute; however, no deal could come out. The US also offered to help resolve the issue but has so far failed to put an end to the crisis.

Read more: The Gulf crisis: Qatar’s 2022 World Cup moves into the firing…

The Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has called for UN to take action against the Saudi led bloc and called the blockade as a violation of international law and human rights

Though the blockade was deemed to impact Doha negatively, it had some upsides. It made Qatar move towards self-reliance. Amid the only land route closed, Qatar has started finding alternative ways and partners too. Since June 5th, Oman saw an increase in its trade with Qatar by 2,000 per cent. Not only this, Qatar has also started working on its tourism to invite more and more travelers to the country. However, pundits consider this pleasant change to be short term. In the long run, it will have to bear the cost of the blockade.

The writer is a political analyst. 

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