Are Qatar’s Contentious Relationships All Bad?
By admin June 23, 2017

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Qatar, once one of the poorest Gulf states, is now one of the region’s wealthiest countries. The nation, rich in gas reserves, has received criticism from other Arab nations in the past for supporting various terrorist groups throughout the Middle East including Palestinian Hamas in Gaza and Islamist organizations in Egypt and Syria.

Recent rifts between Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates stem from allegations of oil money being used to back the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood; criticism of close relationships with the Taliban and al-Qaeda affiliates; Al Jazeera support for Houthi rebels in Yemen; and strong ties with Iran. Failing to ameliorate these grievances has escalated into the deepest political crisis among Arab Gulf countries in years.

This morning, after 18 full days of a diplomatic, economic, and social blockade, Saudi Arabia and several other Arab countries issued a set of demands. Presented to Qatar through mediators from Kuwait, the list includes requests to dissolve media outlet Al Jazeera, abandon ties with Islamist organizations, and the release of information about its funding for political dissidents.

Qatari officials have yet to respond to the requests, but they continue to deny supporting extremists and have previously refused negotiations and concessions that would “undermine sovereignty.”

As discontent over the consistent seditious behavior of leadership in Doha grows in the West, Qatar may not be able to avoid its neighbors’ grievances much longer. For the last three years, the United States Treasury and State Department have warned of Qatar’s permissive terrorist financing environment and have noted no change in political capacity to enforce counter-terrorist financing legislation.

Analysts are now calling on Doha to change its behavior to restore the stability and security of the region and the world. However, some of the demands issued this morning will be hard for Qatar to meet, especially in the 10-day time-line set for the nation to comply.

The US allies spearheading Qatar’s isolation must be careful not to go too far. Historically, the small nation has played a key role in the Gulf Cooperation Council as Doha’s relationships with Islamist groups have been useful to other members of in negotiating hostage releases and mitigating other security crises. Destroying these relationships may work to spike regional volatility and national vulnerability. A fine balance must be met to maintain leverage while increasing security and compliance with international anti-terrorist financing rules.


Read More:

Qatar Country Profile

Why Qatar is the Focus of Terrorism Claims

The Blockade on Qatar is Smokescreen. Here’s What’s Behind it.

Qatar Must Stop Changing the Subject–and Start Changing its Behavior

Arab Nations Issue Demands to Qatar

Media Watchdog Slams Demand to Shut Al Jazeera

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