Few more days to go and no one sitting here knows that what will be going to be the fate of the Gulf Country- Qatar.
Few more days to go and no one sitting here knows that what will be going to be the fate of the Gulf Country- Qatar. It all started when Six Arab countries including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Yemen, Egypt and Bahrain severed its relations with the highest natural gas producing and exporting nation on June 5, 2017 over its alleged support of terrorism. On 19 July as per IST Kuwait, acting as a mediator, has presented a list of 13 demands made by Gulf countries to be fulfilled by Qatar within 10 days and a warning that non-compliance will lead to exclusion of it from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
With the highest per capita income in the world, the tiny monarchy has grown fabulously wealthy on the back of massive oil and natural gas reserves but is heavily reliant on food and other essential supplies that are brought in by trucks across its border with Saudi Arabia and closing of border has choked the land, sea and air contact of Qatar with neighbors causing panic buying of goods in the country following the announcement.
Saudi Arabia has accused Qatar of supporting ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Shia rebels in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Saudi and allied relations with Qatar have been tense for years. In 2014, some of the same countries pulled out their diplomats from Qatar citing similar concerns. Saudi Arabia also withdrew its ambassador to Doha from 2002 to 2008.
The United Arab Emirates state minister for Foreign Affairs clearly has clearly given a warning that it would be wiser for Qatar to deal seriously with the demands and concerns of the neighbors or a divorce will take place.
US policy towards Qatar so far has been causing dilemma. A large U.S. presence at the Al Udeid Air Base, the primary base of U.S. air operations against the Islamic State has been used to stage attacks against ISIS targets. President Donald Trump has appeared to take credit for the Saudi embargo and described Qatar as a haven for terrorism. The move also comes just weeks after President Trump visited Riyadh and called for a united front against ISIS and extremism. By contrast, the State Department under Rex Tillerson has twice upbraided Saudi Arabia’s approach to Qatar and questioned its true motives in sparking the diplomatic crisis. State Department has been pressing Saudi to specify the actions Qatar must take to see the embargo lifted, but warned that those demands need to be “reasonable and actionable”.
A number of countries in the region, including Turkey, Russia and Iran, called for the crisis to be resolved through peaceful negotiations. But I do not understand that what may be the reason that Maldives, an island in South Asia has cut off its relations with Qatar in Gulf. Are the accusations so strong that whole world is starting to come up for?
Remaining stiff on its innocence stand, the Defence minister said that Qatar felt as though it had been “stabbed in the back” by friends, dismissing accusations made by the four Arab states that the country supported and harbored terrorist groups. “I hope we don’t come to a stage where a military intervention is made but we always stand ready.”
List of demands by Saudi Arabia, other Arab nations
- Scale down diplomatic ties with Iran and close the Iranian diplomatic missions in Qatar, expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and cut off military and intelligence cooperation with Iran. Trade and commerce with Iran must comply with US and international sanctions in a manner that does not jeopardise the security of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
- Immediately shut down the Turkish military base, which is currently under construction, and halt military cooperation with Turkey inside of Qatar.
- Sever ties to all “terrorist, sectarian and ideological organisations,” specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIL, al-Qaeda, Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as the Nusra Front) and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Formally declare these entities as terror groups as per the list announced by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt, and concur with all future updates of this list.
- Stop all means of funding for individuals, groups or organizations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, US and other countries.
- Hand over “terrorist figures”, fugitives and wanted individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to their countries of origin. Freeze their assets, and provide any desired information about their residency, movements and finances.
- Shut down Al Jazeera and its affiliate stations.
- End interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Revoke Qatari citizenship for nationals where such citizenship violates those countries’ laws.
- Pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years. The sum will be determined in coordination with Qatar.
- Align Qatar’s military, political, social and economic policies with the other Gulf and Arab countries, as well as on economic matters, as per the 2014 agreement reached with Saudi Arabia.
- Cease contact with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Hand over files detailing Qatar’s prior contact with and support for opposition groups, and submit details of their personal information and the support Qatar has provided them.
- Shut down all news outlets funded directly and indirectly by Qatar, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed, Mekameleen and Middle East Eye, etc.
- Agree to all the demands within 10 days of list being submitted to Qatar, or the list will become invalid.
- Consent to monthly compliance audits in the first year after agreeing to the demands, followed by quarterly audits in the second year, and annual audits in the following 10 years.
If Qatar agrees to comply, the list asserts that it will be audited once a month for the first year, and then once per quarter in the second year after it takes effect. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance. The document does not specify what the countries will do if Qatar refuses to comply.
But as the given deadline is coming near we can see the tone of the countries changing. As on Monday, The United Arab Emirates warned Qatar it could not belong to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) if it undermined regional security, calling for a “change of behaviour” but not “regime change”.
On the other hand, UK does not regard the demands as reasonable, foreign secretary Boris Johnson said on Friday: “Gulf unity can only be restored when all countries involved are willing to discuss terms that are measured and realistic.”
Fikri Isik, Turkey’s Defence Minister, said that his country had no plans to review its military base in Qatar and that any demand for its closure would represent interference in the country’s relations with the Gulf state.
What do you think?
What do you think? Aren’t the demands made by Gulf countries an infringement of Qatar’s sovereign character as a nation? Will Qatar be accepting the demands? Or is it having any secret support to fight back like it has been taking such a strong stand on its views till now? As of Qatar, I don’t feel like that it is backing down. And somewhere in mind, I have a feeling that it may be because of some unnoticed shrewd move by America back there. Do you sense the same?
Submitted by – Lakshay Anand
Content Writer @ Legal Bites