New “Family” Quarrel in the Persian Gulf

Several states broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar

On June 5, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic relations with Qatar citing security concerns over Doha's alleged support for terrorism. Four Arab countries announced plans to suspend all land, air, and sea traffic with Qatar, eject its diplomats and block all Qatari information resources. Citizens of Qatar residing in the mentioned countries ordered to leave their territory within two weeks.

The conflict between Qatar and its neighbors occurred after the Qatari news agency posted a speech on behalf of the country's emir in support of building relations with Iran. Later, the official representative of the Qatari Foreign Ministry said that the agency's site was hacked, and the speech on behalf of the emir was published by hackers and has nothing to do with the Qatari leader.

But it should be kept in mind that the current conflict is not spontaneous: the contradictions with Qatar have a long history and a lot of reasons. So, the Saudis accuse Qatar of supporting terrorists and extremists from ISIS and al-Qaeda to Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim brotherhood, and Houthis in Yemen. In addition, Saudi Arabia is extremely painfully perceived the Qatari Foreign Minister’s recent visit to Tehran.

Egypt didn’t forget the active help and support provided by Qatar to the Muslim brotherhood during their short-term stay in power, and UAE fears the influence of its terrorist groups.

Deep roots has Saudi and Qatari opposition in the question of relationship to the founder of Wahhabism, M. Wahhab, whose descendants consider themselves the representatives of the ruling Qatari family, which is categorically denied by Saudi clergy. Speaking about the possible consequences, we need to consider that Qatar has only one land border with Saudi Arabia and dependent on imports of basic goods, primarily food.

In this regard, the Qatar’s reaction was quite restrained. Qatar stated that the initiators of the severance of diplomatic relations didn’t have any legal basis, and emphasized that these actions will have no effect on Qatari citizens. Meanwhile, Qatari share index QE All Share has lost 7 %, and market value of oil has increased.

Relations between the opposing parties have never been cloudless. In 2014 they have already stopped diplomatic relations, but later they were restored. Now, after D. Trump’s speech in front of Arab leaders in Riyadh and the US intention to create a cohesive front against Iran, any disputes among the members of the GCC are fundamentally contrary to American interests. This was immediately confirmed by the Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson. He has expressed the hope that the GCC would remain united and the USA would welcome the decision of the parties to sit down at the negotiating table. The presence of the largest American military base “al-Udeid” in Qatar, as well as the base of the 5th US fleet in Bahrain will probably make American arguments more convincing.

Qatar terrorism