Pundits are at it again, screaming that Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia two weeks ago heightened the sectarian divide in the Gulf region leading to this week’s snapping of relations and punitive measures against Qatar. That’s not quite the correct picture; this is a GCC, and more importantly, an Arab affair.
The Riyadh Summits provided the platform and resolve to unite against Iran and extremism. In the wake of these unprecedented meetings, dozens of steps are now being taken including an imminent crackdown on financial support for terrorism.
Within the GCC, these measures are serious business where Qatar needs to align with other member states. This GCC crisis is a house-cleaning exercise of the upmost importance to promote Arab unity.
The severity of the penalties against Qatar is testimony to the requirement for Doha to regain its orientation toward the GCC. At no time in the GCC’s history have three member states, along with other Arab countries, instituted a punitive blockage on an Arab country, along with the ejection of Qatari nationals from Saudi Arabia and allies.
What it means to be a GCC member
Qatar’s past behavior complicates the mission that Saudi Arabia and its allies see as necessary now. With a new urgency for a greater integration of like-minded Arab states to deal with local and regional ills, Doha needs to be a positive Arab actorDr. Theodore Karasik