How Moscow Can Help Resolve Qatari Crisis and Why It's Related to Syria

As many Arab states severed diplomatic relations with Qatar and even moved to impose a de facto blockade against the country, it appears that Russia may help resolve this crisis through negotiation.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, citing Doha's alleged support of terrorism. Several other countries, including Chad and Senegal, recalled their ambassadors from Doha, while Jordan and Djibouti said they would lower their level of diplomatic contact with Qatar.

And it appears that Russia, which does not take sides in this conflict, may become one of the mediators to help resolve this row between Qatar and other Arab states, according to Elena Suponina, advisor to the head of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies.

"The United States is clearly inclined to support Saudi Arabia in this crisis. The US ambassador to Qatar recently resigned as she did not agree with this policy," she told RIA Novosti, pointing out that previously the US sought to maintain cordial relations with the Arab states of the Persian Gulf without openly taking sides.

Russia however managed to establish good relations with both Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as with other countries in the region, in contrast with the current approach adopted by the US leadership.

"Therefore, Moscow may actually play the role of a mediator in this crisis due to its neutrality. Russia is not interested in escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf region as it may have a negative impact on attempts to peacefully resolve the Syrian crisis," she added.

At the same time, Suponina pointed out, Russia is well aware that it cannot be the only intermediary in this situation, which is why Moscow seeks to coordinate its efforts with countries like Turkey, Kuwait and Oman that also seek a peaceful resolution to this crisis.

Vitaly Naumkin, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies, also remarked that Russia may help resolve this difficult situation without directly interfering in this conflict, as Moscow shares common interests with virtually all of the countries involved in this row.

"Considering the developing relations between Russia and the Persian Gulf states, as well as with Egypt and Jordan, Moscow will likely maintain an equidistant stance towards the sides of this conflict," he said.

Also, Vladimir Sotnikov of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies also pointed out that a somewhat similar situation occurred in 2010 when several Arab states severed relations with Qatar but after a couple of months things returned back to normal.

"I believe that this severance of relations may be an attempt by certain Arab countries to bring pressure to Qatar… It might even be an attempt to pressure Qatar by some of our Western partners who have their own interests in the region," he said.