MIDDLE EAST

Doha’s path to ending the crisis with Gulf countries

There is deep distrust between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain on one hand and Qatar on another. This complicates the dispute with Doha and makes it almost impossible to end this crisis via the traditional method that’s based on consent and verbal promises.

This distrust is not because Qatar’s neighbors hate it but it is due to a long history of not keeping promises, as the boycotting countries put it. If these promises were kept, it would have been possible to avoid what happened.

Any trouble in a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country directly leads to trouble in other council member states. Any financial collapse, security vacuum or political and sectarian chaos can directly influence the Gulf’s stability and even affect Iran and Iraq as well.

This means that it’s in Doha’s interest – before any other – to maintain its good relations with its neighbors and to provide guarantees to build trust with these countries instead of letting its economy get negatively affected or letting social and political problems shake its internal hierarchy and structure.

The countries which boycotted Qatar do not want to deprive the latter of its sovereignty or to interfere in its foreign policy or impose an approach on which it must build its alliances with Iran or Turkey or any other country that’s regionally and internationally influential.

The countries which boycotted Qatar do not want to deprive the latter of its sovereignty or interfere in its foreign policy or impose an approach on which it must build its alliances with Iran or Turkey or any other country that’s regionally and internationally influential

Hassan Al Mustafa

Sovereign right

Proof of this lies in how Oman and Kuwait have good relations with Tehran and Ankara and the rest of the GCC countries did not boycott them. Such relations are a sovereign right for each country.

Kuwait and Oman’s relations with Turkey and Iran are based on clarity and on international law and they do not conspire against their neighbors. They do not support groups that threaten other countries’ peace and stability.

Qatar’s path to ending this crisis will not be easy after it rejected the 13 demands. This is more so considering a part of them also represents international demands such as suspending support for terrorist groups and not funding fundamental groups in Syria, Libya and Egypt.

Qatar decision to enter into a dialogue with boycotting countries, positively engaging with Kuwait’s mediation efforts and attempting to reassure its neighbors with practical and clear measures – or rather implementing them – may lessen the severity of the crisis and keep political, security and economic tensions away from the Gulf.

No one wants such tension because stability is the main demand of the people and governments of the region and this is the only path toward development and reform.

This article is also available in Arabic.
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Hassan AlMustafa is Saudi journalist with interest in middle east and Gulf politics. His writing focuses on social media, Arab youth affairs and Middle Eastern societal matters. His twitter handle is @halmustafa.
 

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Last Update: Monday, 10 July 2017 KSA 13:49 - GMT 10:49
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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