Qatar is a country that has been locked in a trade embargo and travel that includes using
the air space of its neighbours. The Gulf Crisis has seen the extension of the boycott against
Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt for four months.
It has become something of an issue of bullying with three major significant nations (with
the exception of Bahrain which is too small to be considered significant). Saudi Arabia has
been the main leader in this quartet against the small but wealthy gulf state known as
Qatar has used $ 38 bn (29 bn pounds) to support its economy during a dispute with other
Arab states, a rating agency says. According to Moody’s, the trade, tourism and banking
sectors have been worst hit by the restrictions put in place since June by Saudi Arabia, the
United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain. It estimates that about $ 30 bn has flowed out of
Qatar’s banking system and expects further withdrawals. Qatar’s neighbours say they cut it
off over its alleged support for militancy. It denies supporting militant groups and says that
the crisis is politically motivated.
This crisis would appear to be politically motivated as the demands have been placed on
Riyadh and its allies in Doha, which include the closure of the Al-Jazeera network and the
severing of diplomatic ties with Iran. The reliance of Qatar on off shore accounts to sustain
its economy can point to large withdrawals by the Saudis and others due to the boycott. The
fact that they rely on Qatar to retain some of the financial holdings indicates the degree of
trust between the neighbours. However the four month long dispute has seen an end to the
crisis because foreign investors have lost their confidence in the emirate.
Meanwhile a phone call between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and Qatar’s
Sheik Tamim Bin Hamid al Thani to hold dialogue to resolve the dispute had gone awry. It
ended with no agreement to hold formal negotiations and it had been hoped that this
would lead to the five leaders involved in the dispute coming together around the
negotiating table and discussing Qatar’s 23 point demand.
Saudi Arabia says it has suspended dialogue with Qatar, shortly after a phone call between
the Qatari leader and the Saudi Crown Prince. The two sides had discussed holding talks to
resolve the Qatar crisis, which has seen Doha cut off from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and
the UAE. However, Saudi Arabia then accused Qatar of distorting facts about the call, and
said it was ending talks. The four countries say Qatar supports militancy – something Doha
denies. The row led to all four Arab countries cutting ties with Qatar on 5 June – Saudi
Arabia closed its land border with Qatar, while all four countries cut air and sea links with
If Qatar’s problems with the Saudis and their supporters remain unresolved then others will
follow suit. The only solution to this four month long crisis is for Riyadh to reconsider its list
of demands which are unlikely to be fulfilled. There is no way Qatar will agree to severe
diplomatic ties with Iran when they share a common oil field and needs Tehran’s
cooperation to access the natural gas. Neither will Qatar shut down a major news network
like Al Jazeera. I do not know how negotiations with Doha will pan out over these demands
one thing is for certain, public opinion in the anti-Qatar quartet nations as well as other
Arab and Muslim nations will likely turn against Saudi Arabia as time goes by.
1. Saudi Arabia – BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/dd4fa30e-dec8- 479a-8881- b480af10392c/saudi-arabia
All the latest news about Saudi Arabia from the BBC.
Qatar 'uses $38bn to support economy' during Gulf crisis – BBC News
6 days ago – Qatar has used $38bn (£29bn) to support its economy during a
dispute with other Arab states, a rating agency says. The trade, tourism and …