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article imageCrisis in Qatar may continue and even get worse

By Paul Iddon     Mar 13, 2014 in Politics
A week has passed since the GGC Arab states of the Persian Gulf recalled their ambassadors from Qatar. That crisis may continue and even get worse.
Gulf Times quoted a diplomatic source in the Gulf giving their overview of the situation by outlining the following,
"Qatar's foreign policy is totally unrealistic. We realize they want to play an active role regionally that is way bigger than the small size of their country, but the policies they adopted, and cost them $4 billion annually, have become adventurous and even opportunities, jeopardizing in the process the stability of fellow member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council."
Other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar after accusing it of failing to follow procedure and of interfering in their internal affairs.
Gulf News also quoted its anonymous diplomat source explaining how Qatar had agreed to abide by a document put forth by Saudi Arabia that stipulated that GCC states "pledge not to naturalize opponents of other governments or offer support to radical groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood."
Qatar did not sign that document. That was March 4, the day before those other member states went on to withdraw their ambassadors from Doha. They now view Qatar, in light of its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, as a threat to their stability.
As The Independent reported the other day they're also very irritated by the critical reporting of the Al Jazeera network and the fact that Qatar supported the Muslim Brotherhood's elected Egyptian President Morsi in Egypt and opposed its overthrow by the military in July 2013. Saudi Arabia on the other hand welcomed the new authorities and supported the Egyptian military's efforts in crushing the Muslim Brotherhood by providing it with $15 billion.
Bloomberg gives us a good overview here of how Saudi Arabia and its gulf allies don't have much leverage over the small sheikhdom -- which incidentally is the richest country in the world.
It points out for instance that in the year 2012 Qatar traded more with Singapore than it did its Gulf neighbors. It is also the worlds largest producer of natural gas and most of its market is in Asia. As the analysis points out trade with with Saudi Arabia and the UAE constitute less than 5% of Qatar's trade.
However it does add that the sheikhdom is vulnerable if Saudi Arabia goes as far as closing its land border. Through there comes fresh produce. If UAE joined in such an endeavour it too could prevent goods being shipped through Dubai.
More about Qatar, Gcc, Saudi arabia
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