The Gulf Crisis…

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Sun 4 June / Jun 2017. 11:00 PM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

The ongoing escalation between Saudi and the UAE on one side, and Qatar on the other, having come to cutting diplomatic ties and enforcing an all-terrain embargo, on their part, is maybe the beginning of something new.

Egypt, Yemen, and Haftar in Libya have also joined in on the severing, which only omens new regional alliances brewing, and the dismantlement of old ones.

For the most part, the situation has three main variable factors in play.

The first is the lines and boundaries the GCC are willing to cross to tame Qatar.

Notably, this depends on whether the move is intended to force a change in the internal Qatari political dynamic, or forcefully redirect the Qatari foreign approach.

In part, some elements of the GCC situation in the overall suggests that going back is very difficult for all the parties involved in the Gulf Council.

The second variable in the American position on the crisis.

US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, called upon the GCC to calm down and prioritise unity.

As clear as his statements were, the US may have other agendas in mind for the Gulf region.

There are hypotheses linking Trump's visits to the internal Gulf tension.

It is possible, that there may be an underlying, common understanding, between the US, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, on the expected outcomes of this for Qatar.

If not, how is the US position on the unfolding Gulf Crisis different, specifically?

The third variable concerns Qatar's expected reactions.

At first, there were attempts to contain the crisis, asserting that the statements were fabricated.

However, when the assault intensified, and the Kuwaiti mediation was turned down, talks about clear, specific conditions only put Qatar in a more difficult situation.

Qatar was asked to give up its approach entirely. Meaning that the Qatari approach to both domestic and foreign relations must change, or else the consequences will be dangerous, and endless.

The parody lies in the recent short-lived Iranian-Qatari rapprochement, and Qatar's attempt to ease differences with Iran.

This is in spite of the fact that, to Iran, Qatar was seen as the main sponsor of Syrian Islamist opposition movements, along with Turkey, including Ahrar al Sham and Nusra.

Notably, the Qatari-Turkish vibe was obviously off over the last few years, until very recently, when the two shored up ties, in these past several weeks

To what extend is Qatar willing, or able, for that matter, to fix things up with Iran, in order to find a way out from its hole?

While this is an important question, it also carries the possibility that Qatar may have to revaluate and reformulate its position on the Syrian situation.

Once again, another parody lies in the boundaries of this redirection.

To what extent can Qatar really push, in order to break free of the shackles enforced by its brethren states?

Can Qatar really reformulate its position on the Syrian situation?

Any change on the Syrian scenario, in regards to Qatar’s capacity, cannot be considered tactical.

I do not suppose Qatar can afford to cross the strategic boundaries of their relationship with the US, particularly in regards to Syria.

Reformulating their position on Syria means coming to clash with the US’s approach on the matter.

Similarly, Turkey is in a tough position too.

The Turkish-US state of affairs is fluctuating, especially since Trump’s administration has chosen to support the Kurds.

In the meantime, there has been a recent Russian-Turkish rapprochement, even though Turkey is still a member of NATO and part of the Western alliance.

This is all in spite of the differences in policies towards Syria, between the two.

On top of that, some subtle changes hint to an underway shift in Turkish-Saudi relations; a shift back to the way they were in 2015, perhaps.

Despite of Qatar’s small size, the country played a vital role in the recent epoch, having supported political Islamist movements and sided openly with the Arab Spring Revolts.

Naturally, Qatar’s hole will reflect, immensely, on their options, and the room they had for manoeuvre.

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.

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