MIDDLE EAST

Qatar beginning to feel the pinch

Measures taken by the four countries, which decided to confront Qatar, are highly likely to succeed no matter how much Doha’s government resists. The political meetings held in New York this week will shed light on the crisis and its path.

If Qatar accepts to make the required concessions, it will succeed in ending all these pressures against it. However, if it seeks to compromise by accepting some conditions and stalling others, the crisis will prolong till next year.

The entire world benefits from confronting Qatar. Qatar is a small country with massive financial surpluses and a huge desire to create chaos in the region and across the world, and it has actually caused a lot of destruction.

The Middle East has almost gotten rid of all regimes that fund and mobilize chaos, except two, Qatar and Iran. By ending the Qatari role, problems will decrease and religious extremist groups will lose power. Iran will thus be alone.

Qatar is a small country with massive financial surpluses and a huge desire to create chaos in the region and across the world

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Qatar has been responsible for chaos, extremism and even partially terrorism, for over two decades. No one confronted it at the beginning as they underestimated it and its influence. Its role eventually grew and it began to fuel more crises and hid behind alliances. The four boycotting countries that are capable of confronting it coming together overturned the table and besieged Qatar itself.

Qatar is a dangerous country when not monitored. It has a surplus of oil and gas revenues, which it can use to fund extremist organizations across the world and work to topple regimes that oppose it. This makes Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE adamant to end Qatar’s practices and confront its policies.

Significance and interests

Most countries which are asked to choose between the four boycotting countries and Qatar choose the former considering their influence, significance and interests. Prior to the meetings held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s session, Qatar sought to convince superpowers to support it against the four boycotting countries but it actually failed. Germany’s chancellor advised Qatar’s Emir to negotiate with the four countries, i.e. he has to make concessions.

This week is decisive for the Qataris as they are trying to convince the US to mediate again and seal an “appropriate” political deal with the anti-terror quartet. Qatar’s command may not succeed due to what it did last time when Trump mediated based on an initiative by Kuwait’s Emir. It was due to Qatar’s Emir that these efforts failed less than an hour after the White House announced its mediation.

Why does Qatar request mediations and then thwart them? It is because Qatar is ruled by two men: Emir Tamim, who approves decisions but does not have the authority to execute them, and his father, the former emir, and the latter’s former foreign minister, who still controls state institutions.

ALSO READ: Qatar enters Turkey-EU fray to ‘resolve’ crisis with GCC?

If paving the way to reach a solution does not happen in these two weeks, the crisis may prolong for a year or even two years, and as Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir put it, the Arab quartet has nothing to lose from boycotting Qatar.

Doha however has a lot to lose as it cannot live with all these pressures. Although the country’s port and airport are open, Qatar’s authorities feel suffocated due to this boycott.

Pressures are not limited to closing the only land border crossing with Saudi Arabia as Doha is also being pursued by regional and international institutions. With the passage of time, the Qataris and foreigners will begin to realize that if the crisis is not resolved soon, it will prolong and weaken the state.

This article is also available in Arabic.
______________________
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.

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Last Update: Tuesday, 19 September 2017 KSA 14:00 - GMT 11:00
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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