Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Five Reasons Why Saudi Arabia Has Cut Ties with Qatar

Saudi Arabia and its major Arab allies have decided to cut diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Qatar infuriated over Qatar’s favourable position toward Iran and Islamist groups like Muslim Brotherhood. The moves by the Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, U.A.E, and Egypt came shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and criticized Iran for sponsoring terrorism in the Middle East.

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1. Diplomatic Rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar?

Is Iran behind the spat between Saudi Arabia and Qatar? To a certain extent, Yes. The reason for escalating tensions between two prosperous Arab Kingdoms was a report by Qatar News Agency where Qatar ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani criticized heightening anti-Iran attitude. Qatari officials swiftly deleted the comments, blamed them on hackers and requested for calm. Critique by Saudi and U.A.E media organizations intensified after Sheikh Tamim called Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a clear snub to Saudi Arabia.

2. Sunni vs Shia Tension?

The Shiite-led Islamic Republic of Iran is is a major regional rival of Saudi Arabia, which is a Sunni-led Kingdom. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia are world’s largest oil exporters and are on the confronting sides of conflicts from Syria to Iraq. The Saudis blamed Qatar for supporting “Iranian-backed terrorist groups” which Qatar denied. But they also quoted Qatar’s support of “terrorist groups endeavouring to destabilize the Arab world,” including the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, and Al-Qaeda.

3. The reason for Saudi -Qatar Spat?

The temperature dramatically increased after the visit of US President Trump. Days after Trump and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz singled out Iran as the world’s principal supporter of terrorism, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E. blamed Qatar of trying to weaken efforts to isolate Iran.

4. Analysis of the Analysts:

Prior to the prevailing confrontation, Hassan Rouhani, a moderate cleric who was re-elected as the President of Iran for the second time said his country is ready for talks to settle the confrontation. Additionally, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who wields more power than Hassan Rouhani, criticized the Saudi regime for the failure of its policies in Yemen. Recently, Saudi Arabia gathered a coalition of 34 Sunni-led countries to fight Yemeni Shia rebels supported and armed by Iran, after they overthrew a Saudi-backed government.

5. Is this the first Saudi-Qatar Spat?

In 2014, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E. and Bahrain provisionally withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar. That dispute focused on Egypt, where Qatar supported a Muslim Brotherhood government while Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. vehemently supported the other fraction. Qatar is also home to Hamas’s exiled leadership and Taliban leaders. Analysts believe that Saud Arabia and its allies want to show Qatar, a minuscule country with just over 2.5 million population it’s actual place in the Arab world, as they believe that Qatar is throwing more weight than it really deserves.

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