No End in Sight to Saudi-Qatari Political Crisis

No End in Sight to Saudi-Qatari Political Crisis No End in Sight to Saudi-Qatari Political Crisis

A lawmaker believes the prospects of a speedy resolution of the worst political crisis in the Persian Gulf involving Qatar and Saudi Arabia are poor, as differences between the two countries are rooted in history and there is no indication Qataris will bow to Riyadh's demands anytime soon.

Mohammad Javad Jamali made the statement in a recent interview with ICANA.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a blockade on the peninsular nation in June. The bloc has set several conditions for lifting its land, air and sea blockade against Qatar, notably asking Doha to end support for groups such as Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which they regard as terrorist, and restrict ties with Tehran.

Qatar has denied the allegations and rejected the demands as an attempt to impose guardianship on the kingdom.

The discord between Qatar and Saudi Arabia stems from the latter's attempts to gain regional dominance and the two countries' border disputes.

"There is a longstanding rivalry between the two kingdoms over leading opponent groups in the region and the Arab world," he said, adding that Qatar has funded groups at odds with those backed by Riyadh.

"Besides, Qatar has been constantly concerned over Saudi intentions to [seize] its lands."

Qatar has so far resisted the pressure and its economy has survived the four-month blockade.

The Saudi-led bloc has ignored calls for dialogue by the tiny kingdom, which shows its unwillingness to give up its belligerent stance as it demands Qatar's total surrender.

Mediation efforts led by Kuwait and the US have failed to settle the crisis.

Jamali said there is no hope that the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council can play a role in de-escalating tensions between the two countries.

"The [P]GCC is no longer a cohesive community and countries such as Qatar, Kuwait and Oman are fed up with Saudis playing godfather," he said, adding that although the two other countries have not yet voiced their dissatisfaction, but they seek to leave King Salman's apron strings.

"Such an assembly cannot help defuse tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia," he said.

The latest sign that the conflict is not heading toward an end appeared last week when Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani lashed out at the Saudi-led bloc in his address to the UN General Assembly.

The Qatari ruler said the imposition of an "unjust blockade" by the group of Arab countries on Doha was an assault against a sovereign state and a violation of human rights.

"We have refused to yield to dictations by pressure and siege. The countries, which imposed the blockade on the state of Qatar, interfere in the internal affairs of many countries, and accuse all those who oppose them domestically and abroad with terrorism," said the Qatari emir.

In a move that ran counter to Saudi requests, Qatar normalized its relations with Iran last month by returning its Iran ambassador who had left the country in January 2016 in a show of solidarity with Saudi Arabia.

Tehran has called for dialogue between the two sides to end the rift and has acted to address Qatar's urgent needs by providing it with food and other supplies and allowing Qatari passenger plans to use Iranian airspace.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints