Cairo, December 7 (International Observation) Whether the crisis of severing diplomatic relations in the Gulf ushered in the dawn of resolution.
Recently, the Gulf severance crisis has recently sent “ice-breaking” signals: Kuwait revealed that the parties are expected to sign a final agreement, and Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other countries have publicly expressed optimism about resolving the crisis.
Some analysts believe that the important reason for the turning point of the Gulf severance crisis is the boost of the United States’ own interests. However, in view of the fact that the contradictions between the parties concerned have not been resolved, and the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and other parties have not yet expressed their positions, the prospects for resolving the crisis are still unclear.
The Gulf severance crisis began in 2017. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt announced that they would sever diplomatic relations with Qatar in June of that year, imposed sanctions and blockades on the grounds that Qatar “supported terrorism” and “damaging regional security”, and then some countries announced that they had severed diplomatic relations with Qatar.
The crisis has lasted for more than three years, and now all parties have sent positive signals one after another. On the 4th of this month, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmed, the broker broker in the severance of diplomatic relations, issued a statement saying that the recent negotiations between the parties concerned were “fruitful” and that they hoped to maintain unity and stability in the Gulf and Arab countries, and it was expected to sign a final agreement in the near future.
Subsequently, Qatar and Saudi Arabia also made positive statements. Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed said on a videoconference on the 4th that Qatar is very optimistic about resolving the Gulf crisis and is positive about any initiative to achieve peace in the region. At the same meeting, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal said that Saudi Arabia appreciated Kuwait’s efforts to resolve the crisis, and the relevant countries have made significant progress on this issue in the past few days, hoping that this progress will help reach a final agreement.
Internal and external motivation
Analysts believe that there are many reasons for the turning point of the severance crisis.
Externally, the United States is an important driver of this round of mediation. The positive signal came after Kushner, a senior adviser to the President of the United States, had just visited Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia also expressed their gratitude to the United States in the above-mentioned statements and statements respectively. Analysts such as Mana, a professor at the School of Politics and International Relations of the University of Kuwait, believe that US President Trump hopes to gain political benefits for himself by resolving the Gulf crisis before leaving office, while achieving the goal of containing Iran and helping Israel.
Gulf Arab countries are a firm ally of the United States, and a united Gulf is more in the interest of the United States. In addition, the crisis of severing diplomatic relations has deepened Qatar’s relations with Iran. It is reported that one year after the severance of diplomatic relations, Iran’s exports to Qatar have increased fivefold and are expected to increase 15 times by 2022. Qatar’s leaders have also repeatedly spoken out in support of Iran. Abdulaziz Aluweshej, Assistant Secretary-General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), said that Iran’s role in the Gulf region is a major issue of common concern between the United States and the Gulf Arab countries, and both sides intend to contain Iran and try to change its behavior.
Internally, the economic difficulties caused by the COVID-19 epidemic in the Gulf countries are prominent, and the importance of external environmental stability and regional cooperation is highlighted. The contradictions were originally close in trade, but the severance of diplomatic relations had a huge impact on the trade between the two sides, and its negative impact was more serious under the epidemic, which prompted the two sides to ease relations.
Conflicts are difficult to solve.
Although Qatar is optimistic about the outlook, it also points out that the crisis cannot be expected to be resolved soon, and even if the crisis is resolved, “we still need time to recover from what happened during the dispute”.
Analysts believe that the crisis may ease and move towards the final resolution, but at present, there are no more details disclosed except for the relevant positive statements, and the confrontation parties are also secretly competing. Many factors may hinder the resolution of the crisis.
Saudi Arabia and four other countries have put forward 13-point demands to Qatar as a condition for ending diplomatic relations, including the withdrawal of Qatar’s diplomatic presence in Iran and the termination of all military cooperation with Iran. Qatar has not agreed before, and it is not clear whether it will give in this time.
Iran’s Tehran Times quoted political analyst Hossan Sheihi on the 7th as saying that Qatar’s national interests will be difficult to be safeguarded if the condition for Gulf reconciliation is to force Qatar to stay away from Iran.
In addition, Egypt and Bahrain may oppose reconciliation because Qatar supports the Muslim Brotherhood; the United Arab Emirates may oppose reconciliation because of its geo-economic competition considerations and differences with Qatar on Libya and other issues, or have a negative attitude towards reconciliation.
Fan Hongda, a professor at the Middle East Research Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, believes that although Qatar’s country is small, it has a large pattern. It will not be a long-term contradiction between the two sides if it is unwilling to obey the “big brother” of the GCC in terms of national development and foreign affairs.