Anti-Saudi Trend Taking Shape in Region

Anti-Saudi Trend Taking Shape in Region  Anti-Saudi Trend Taking Shape in Region

Regional countries, particularly Qatar, have no desire to follow Saudi Arabia's irrational and irresponsible policies, said a lawmaker, stressing that their stances reflect the fact that a "new trend" is developing against the oil kingdom. Abolfazl Hassanbeigi, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said Qatar did not want to accept Saudi guardianship and domination, and refused to align itself with the ill-advised and aggressive Saudi policies, ICANA reported on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transportation ties with Qatar on June 5 over allegations that it supports extremism, urging "all brotherly countries and companies to do the same".

After more than two weeks, the four Arab countries gave Doha a 10-day ultimatum to comply with a 13-point list of demands in exchange for the end of the anti-Qatar measures.

The draconian and bizarre demands Qatar shut down the Aljazeera media network, close a Turkish military base, scale down ties with Iran and pay an unspecified sum in reparations, with Qatar being audited once a month for the first year, after that quarterly in the second year and then annually for another decade.

  No More Support for Qatar Siege

The demands have led to divisions among regional countries, with some toeing the line of Al Saud, and others, like Turkey, denouncing the demands as "inhumane and tantamount to death penalty".

Countries like Pakistan and Morocco are traditionally expected to fall in line with Saudi policies, but they too have adopted a non-alignment stance.

Saudi Arabia is home to at least 1.9 million Pakistani expatriate workers, with the UAE hosting 1.2 million Pakistanis. In fact, Saudi Arabia tops the list of countries with the highest remittances to Pakistan, with $4.52 billion in funds sent home by Pakistanis in the current fiscal year, according to Pakistan's central bank.

In 2009 and in a hasty decision, Morocco severed relations with Iran, taking side with the Saudi stance at the time.

Pointing to the fact that no major country in the region has so far supported the Saudi siege of Qatar, Hassanbeigi said, "Al Saud is now finding itself alone and those who are supporting it are countries hobbled by a severe dependency on the Saudi aid. These are other signs suggesting that the Saudis' hostile policies have failed in the region."

  (P)GCC Disintegration

Hassanbeigi also said the biggest immediate impact from the continuation of the current standoff is on the integrity of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council.

"Dispute and quarrel in [P]GCC have ratcheted up. Now the members are not supporting the irrational and unrealistic Saudi policies," he said.

Omar Ghobash, the UAE ambassador to Moscow, said Qatar may get expelled from the council should it not meet the demands, adding that "that was not the only sanction available".

"If Qatar was not willing to accept the demands, it is a case of 'Goodbye Qatar' we do not need you in our tent anymore," he said. Hassanbeigi concluded that "surely these stances would lead to the formation of a new trend against the Saudi regime in the region."

Amid strong criticism from several quarters and the non-participation of other regional Arab states like Oman and Kuwait, the so-called "tent" created by Saudi Arabia's three allies is only attracting international scorn.

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