The violent political eruption of the Saudi-Qatari conflict has drawn so many questions about its timing and intensity. It is true that the two countries have had their differences and divisions Long time ago, but what was the reason that triggered the current crisis and prompted Riyadh to take severe measures against its partner in supporting takfiri terrorist groups fighting in Syria.
Doubtlessly, the two countries have spent billions of dollars supporting different terrorist groups aiming at destroying Syria and overthrowing its pro resistance regime, to replace it with a pro western regime that severs relations with the resistance and accepts to normalize relations with ‘Israel’. Nevertheless, Riyadh is not happy at all to see its tiny neighbor attempting to play a role, not only independent from Riyadh, but also in contradiction with its policies in the region. Now, what are the Saudi takes on Qatar?
First, the Saudis have never recognized or accepted Qatar as a full independent sovereign state; they have always considered their tiny neighbor as a natural extension to their country. This has come to an inflammatory stage especially after the discovery of the huge gas reservoirs in Qatar which means the ability to use a deposit of hundreds of billions of dollars and an open appetite to play an independent role from the big brother, a thing the Qataris were so good at, thus provoking the Saudis and making them so angry. And this to a great extent explains the continuous problems between the two countries over the border line, a thing the Saudis refuse to solve in an effort to intimidate Qatar, and to continue to exercise pressure over it.
Second, the Qataris have a sensitive and major issue of contention and disagreement with the Saudis because of their full support to Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood which Riyadh considers terrorist organizations and represent a threat to Wahhabism and to the legitimacy of the religious institution in Saudi Arabia.
Third, the Saudis are angry with the role Aljazeera satellite TV plays, as it always trespasses the redlines and breakaway with traditional norms that most of the gulf states adhere to. They even established Al-Arabiyya TV to counter the Qatari propaganda.
Fourth, like Saudis, the Qataris claim they are the descendants of Mohamnad bin Abd alwahhab, the founder of Wahhabism, and have established a huge mosque on Doha after his name which annoyed the Saudis greatly and accused Qataris of stealing their founder symbol.
Fifth, Saudis grew very angry with Qatar after its decision to give turkey the permission and facilities to build a military base in Qatar, as it considered this a detachment from the GCC and an attempt to introduce a new outside power into the gulf equation which challenges the Saudi full authority in the region.
Sixth, given the geographical location, being found between two giants, Saudi Arabia and the Islamic republic of Iran, Doha maintains a balanced political stance vis a vis Iran and has good relation with Tehran which Riyadh considers its number one enemy. This is another deep difference that makes Riyadh at odds with Qatar.
What made the Saudis so mad and prompted them to make this unexpected reaction was tweets attributed to Tamim, after the Arab American summit in Riyadh that Saudi Arabia wanted it a platform to show its supremacy over the gulf and to attack Iran and limit its influence. Tamim is said to have tweeted that it is not wise to be enemies with Iran, a stance Saudis could not bear, as they not only considered it a direct threat to their strategy, rather an attempt to sabotage the results of the summit that Riyadh spent hundreds of billions of dollars and gathered 55 countries to reach at.The Saudis have always pressured Doha and exercised immense influence in its politics reaching up to coming with the emir himself to office. As back as 1996 they wanted to oust Khalifah by force but this was vetoed by Washington, and his son Hamad was brought to assume the position, and recently we saw Tamim assuming office in what seems to be a coup d’etat.
What are the anticipated scenarios for the recent deep rift?
Both Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates continue their intensified campaign against Qatar; they have already cut off relations sealed the borders, stopped the air flights from and to Doha, expelled the ambassadors and asked the Qataris in their countries to leave almost immediately. They stopped dealing with Doha banking system. And they escalated their intense rhetoric in an evident effort to subjugate Doha. Other countries joined the siege club against Qatar, namely Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Maldives, and Mauritania. Kuwait started a mediation effort that led nowhere, the Saudis sent a list of conditions that Doha has to abide by which means a complete surrender, and a total detachment with the previous policy.
Though Qataris responded in their media outlets especially Aljazeera with equally heightened rhetoric, yet they left a window for flexibility. The alternative is also to ask for US help to mediate, especially that Qatar houses the largest American military base in the region. The US president Donald trump expressed readiness to reconcile between the two US allies.
Qatari money can do miracles in this regard, and Trump could gather more hundreds of billions of dollars as well to boast that he brought money and jobs to Americans more than any other US president. To sum up the article, it is not likely that a war erupts between the two countries especially that Qatar does not have military forces in the true sense of the word, and Saudi Arabia has its limitations and restraints due to its war on Yemen. Moreover, Qatar has very close coordination with Turkey which pledged to send troops to support Qatar. As such, it is most likely that this escalation would be followed by intensive mediation talks to resolve the crisis in a way that assures Saudi vital interests and keeps to Qatar its dignity that Riyadh exercised a lot of pressure to compromise it recently as it did many times before.
Source: Al-Manar Website