Gulf diplomatic crisis reviewed

Accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates last June cut off their diplomatic relations with Qatar. They banned their citizens from visiting Qatar and Qataris from entering their countries. They asked all Qatari citizens to leave their countries within two weeks. Other GCC member countries took similar actions. The Arab League led by Saudi Arabia expelled Qatar from the organization and asked Qatar to expel members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas from Qatar. Saudi Arabia also asked Qatar to cut its diplomatic ties with Iran. Root cause The reason for the crisis was Qatar’s alleged support for IS, terrorism and an ideology of extremism but the root cause was the Iran issue. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries want Qatar to join their efforts to contain Iran’s influence. Though Qatar rejects the ideology of Iran’s Shiite group, it has maintained cooperative and friendly relations with Iran and has participated in joint oil exploitation projects in the Gulf region. Saudi Arabia, by contrast, considers Iran its archenemy. The dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia over their relations with Iran increased after US President Donald Trump’s visit, during which he and Saudi Arabia’s Emir called Iran a state sponsor of terrorism. Qatar urged its neighbors to reduce their criticism and improve their ties with Iran. The crisis is in fact a regional power struggle. Until it is resolved, it will weaken stability in the region and the world. Shadowed future Repeated efforts were made in… [Read full story]

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