Four Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates– severed their relations with Qatar
Saudi wanted to lead the group of six Arab countries, however, Qatar did not support the rationale of the Saudis
Qatar publicly disagreed with the US and Saudi in a statement
By Naina Mishra
June 10, 2017:
Four Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates– severed their relations with Qatar on Monday over its alleged support of terrorism. The Saudis, the UAE, and Bahrain have given the Qataris two weeks to leave, and only 48 hours for its diplomats to quit. This has resulted in fall of the stock market by 7.2 percent. Qatar is energy-rich country, however, it remains heavily reliant on Saudi Arabia for food and other commodities that are traded across borders.
Last month in May, US President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and censured Iran – adversary of Saudi Arabia. An impulsive reaction from a Qatari leader Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani came forward where he questioned U.S. hostility toward Iran and claimed tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The quote from the leader spread widely and induced anger among the Saudis.
Past: Saudi and Qatar Relationship
Saudi Arabia and Qatar are both the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which insinuates that the relations were in the mild phase previously. The two countries also share several common geopolitical interests as well. In Syria, both the countries support the rebel groups who want to overthrow Bashar-al- Assad government.
The Bone of Contention: Why was Saudi Arabia fumed at Qatar since 2011?
Rise of Muslim Brotherhood
Saudi Arabia did not support the “Rise of Muslim Brotherhood” which initiated with the ‘Arab Spring’ and fall of Egypt leader back in 2011. Saudi primarily prefers political stability in the Arab nations so that it can use it against Iran. Saudi wanted to lead the group of six Arab countries, however Qatar, unlike UAE and Bahrain, did not support the rationale of the Saudis. Qatar conversely has always supported the rise of Muslim Brotherhood. In 2013, Qatar supported the fall of the draconian regime of Egypt brazenly which infuriated Saudi Arabia and as a result of which the UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi cut the diplomatic ties with Qatar.
Gas reserves: Iran and Qatar Relations
There is a great demand for Gas reserves in the present world. Qatar is known to have massive gas reserves. The South Pars/North Dome field is a natural gas condensate field located in the Persian Gulf, which is the world’s largest natural gas field shared between Iran and Qatar. Qatar thus maintains a cordial relation with Iran to extract natural gas under the Iran’s premises.
Animosity Sprouts: Qatar – the world’s Richest Nation
The wealth that followed after export of Natural Gas turned Qatar into the world’s richest nation and the largest LNG exporter. The rising wealth of Qatar envied the neighbouring nations of the country. Qatar began to form their own foreign policies, build warm relations with Iran and support Hezbollah in Israel. Recently, Qatar invested $2bn in Russia’s state-run oil giant Rosneft. The recent development by the Qatari government maddened Saudi Arabia even more.
Donald Trump Effect on the New Development
During the U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, he called on “all nations of conscience” to isolate Iran. Iran is expected to run a nuclear program which is not welcomed by Israel, an ally of US. On the other side, Qatar publicly disagreed with the US and Saudi in a statement which the government later said was a result of hacking.
The ban on Qatar is the result of retribution by Saudi so that Qatari government works on the lines similar to that of Saudis.