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ANALYSIS: Why Tillerson failed to broker an end to ongoing Qatar crisis

Published: Updated:

Although he has travelled between three Gulf countries over four days, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has failed to break a stalemate in the ongoing Gulf and Arab crisis with Qatar.

According to media reports, Tillerson failed because of unsuccessful positions taken during his Gulf tour and because of what seemed to be an oversimplification of the root of the crisis.

According to the Washington Post op-ed written by Middle East expert Marc Lynch, “Tillerson has focused on mediation and the need to de-escalate the crisis, ostentatiously signing an agreement with Qatar on terrorism financing which seemed to sideline the key demand of the anti-Qatar quartet.”

Failure to reach a solution with the Qataris to agree to the wider problems the anti-Terror Quartet (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt) has with Qatar’s support for terrorist groups and terror financing reflected Tillerson’s oversimplification and his understanding of the root of the problem of the ongoing crisis.

Moreover, Tillerson has shown a bias toward the Qatari Side since the beginning of the crisis, even going so far as calling for Arab countries to make their demands “reasonable and actionable” even before listening to the four Arab countries calling to confront terrorism in the region.

Instead of standing at the same distance from the concerned parties, who are all allies to Washington, the secretary supported the Qatari side which has promised several times in the past to cooperate in the fight against terrorism and never fulfilled them.

Tiller might have missed during his Gulf tour that the countries calling to confront terrorism are strict this time in their position and declaration, and that they refuse to change their demands, foremost of which is Qatar's complete cessation of terrorism activities that have destabilized the region.