News Analysis |
The Qatar crisis enters its second month tomorrow with no immediate and amicable end in sight.The tiny Gulf country has shown defiance and is ready for what seems to be protracted dispute. State-owned Qatar Petroleum said it will boost LNG production by 30 percent regardless of the embargo which was imposed on the country by Saudi Arabia and its allies last month.
However, Doha has said it taking steps to resolve the matter peacefully.”What Qatar has given in goodwill and good initiative for a constructive solution, based on dialogue, we believe is sufficient to show that we have carried out our duties from our side,” said Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Al Thani on Tuesday.
The US has oscillated from first taking credit to offering mediation and then selling jets to Qatar. But what has remained constant is the position of Riyadh and its allies.
He further said that progress is being made on demands which are reasonable.On Monday, Doha’s chief diplomat delivered a handwritten response to the 13 demands put forward by Saudi Arabia and its allies to Kuwait.Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani’s delivery of the handwritten response came after the four countries — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain — extended their deadline for Qatar to accept the terms by two days.
Do what we say!
The decision to sever diplomatic ties with Doha last month added a new bite to the already troubled the Middle East. Iran and Turkey rushed in to support the beleaguered Qatar. The US has oscillated from first taking credit to offering mediation and then selling jets to Qatar. But what has remained constant is the position of Riyadh and its allies.
Qatar was boycotted owing to its alleged support for terrorism and its growing ties with Iran, which is not only Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival but is also labeled as the biggest supporter of terrorism. The 13 demands dished out to Qatar pertain to matters of their internal and foreign policy. Qatar has repeatedly denied all allegations and has reiterated their desire to maintain their sovereignty.
The demands appear dictatorial in tone and toner. Many are of the opinion that these instructions are unreasonable and perhaps infringe upon the sovereignty of the tiny Gulf state.
In gist, Qatar has been ordained to curb diplomatic ties with Iran; end ties with all terrorist organizations; shut down Al Jazeera; expel Turkish military from its soil and fully align itself with fellow Gulf countries. Qatar has further been categorically told to cut ties with political opponents of regimes in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain.
The demands appear dictatorial in tone and toner. Many are of the opinion that these instructions are unreasonable and perhaps infringe upon the sovereignty of the tiny Gulf state. Qatar has been firm in not allowing other countries to interfere in its internal matters.
Teach Doha a lesson
World leaders have called for unity and the need for a reasonable solution to the simmering crisis. President Trump talked with the strongmen of Qatar, KSA, and the UAE, urging them to stand united against the menace of terrorism.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, speaking to reporters on Monday in Saudi Arabia, said he hoped an agreement would be reached between Arab states and Qatar that puts an end to terror financing across the region.
However, the Arab countries are mulling over punishing Qatar if their demands aren’t fulfilled.Gulf states are preparing to ramp up economic sanctions against Qatar, as well as widening its diplomatic boycott and suspending it from the Gulf Co-operation Council, senior Gulf diplomats have indicated.
The Foreign Ministers of the four countries will meet in Cairo on Wednesday and discuss the issue in detail.The Cairo meeting will assess if Qatar has made enough concessions to the demands, which include ending financial support for extremists, withdrawing backing for the Muslim Brotherhood, closure of the broadcaster al-Jazeera and cutting diplomatic ties with Iran.
The Saudi-led alliance is seemingly not mollified with the progress made by Qatar thus far on the demands.Punitive actions can be taken if the stalemate continues. A stronger economic embargo could be implemented, including disinvestment from Qatar, withdrawal of deposits and possibly a tighter air blockade.
The announcement to beef up LNG production may bring both countries closer, much to the consternation of Saudi Arabia, its allies and Iran’s foe in the US.
However, Qatar is not perturbed and has vowed to stand firm amid adversity.Qatari Defence Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah said on Sunday: “Qatar is not an easy country to be swallowed by anyone.We are ready. We stand ready to defend our country,” he said.
The crisis is turning into a long-drawn campaign which has drawn significant international attention.Saudi Arabia’s efforts to rein in Iran may backfire as Qatar has been provided with food and passage by Tehran. The announcement to beef up LNG production may bring both countries closer, much to the consternation of Saudi Arabia, its allies and Iran’s foe in the US.