News Analysis |
Doha has decided to send back its envoy to Tehran after he was recalled 20 months ago over Tehran’s deterioration of ties with Riyadh.The Qatari foreign ministry said its ambassador would “return to resume his diplomatic duties”, as Doha wanted to foster ties in all fields with the Islamic republic.
The aggressors ostensibly took these extreme steps on behest of President Trump’s ratification of the anti-surge when he called out the country as the biggest supporter of terrorism in the region.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani discussed “bilateral relations and means of boosting and developing them” in a telephone call with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif.
This move is, however, not surprising by any means. The Gulf crisis manifested itself with the blockade and boycott of Doha by Saudi Arabia and its allies in June this year. The aggressors ostensibly took these extreme steps on behest of President Trump’s ratification of the anti-surge when he called out the country as the biggest supporter of terrorism in the region.
Qatar who had started developing cordial ties with Iran has, since then been supported by Iran and Turkey as both have rushed-in to help the tiny Gulf country with food and diplomatic aid.
However, Qatar has remained steadfast.Last month, it announced to increase LNG production by 30 percent, something which contributed to bringing it much closer to Iran.One of the main bone of contentions has been Doha’s ties with Iran.
Doha has shown resolve
The crisis which has now entered its third month has seen Qatar hold its own amid adversity. The Arab countries had presented a list of 13 demands to Doha last.In a nutshell, Qatar had 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.
Qatar’s rejection of these demands and its desire to maintain an independent foreign policy was severely criticized by the Arab countries.Hence, the boycott continues to date with threats of further isolation.However, Qatar has remained steadfast.Last month, it announced to increase LNG production by 30 percent, something which contributed to bringing it much closer to Iran.One of the main bone of contentions has been Doha’s ties with Iran.
The decision to restore full diplomatic ties with Tehran has effectively defeated the very purpose of the boycott. Instead of deterring Doha, the boycott has brought the two countries together. For Iran, this is a victory of sorts.
The much-dreaded Iranian sphere of influence may actually increase, making this new anti-Iranian surge counterproductive.
Analysts have asserted that Qatar has decided to take a different course than what Riyadh wanted.In other words, Iran’s enemy bloc is seeing fragmentation; Iran has gleefully exploited it by re-establishing ties with Qatar.Saudia’s principal rival will happily take a divided opposition and will feel confident in tackling it.Iran is and will continue to fight the ISIS and also try to obviate Saudi influence in the region. The Qatar crisis brings it closer to not only the tiny Gulf country but also Turkey. The two countries have agreed to enhance cooperation after the gruesome attacks in Tehran. Doha will be thus a conduit for Tehran and Ankara to paper over their differences which are even otherwise eclipsed by economic ties.
Thus, Iran has much to gain from the ever-tightening encirclement of Doha. The much-dreaded Iranian sphere of influence may actually increase, making this new anti-Iranian surge counterproductive.
Perhaps, this is partly responsible for a little window that has been created between Iran and the Kingdom. Iranian Foreign minister Javed Zarif held brief talks with his Saudi counterpart, Adel al-Jubeir, on the sidelines of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation meeting in the Turkish city of Istanbul on August 1.On Wednesday he said that delegations from Iran and Saudi Arabia would exchange diplomatic visits soon and that visas have been provided. It remains to be seen as to how far the Saudi-Iranian tiff goes.