- BBC World News
The diplomatic crisis between Qatar and most of its neighbors in the Persian Gulf, who accused it of supporting terrorism, seems to have come to an end, more than three years later.
On Monday, Saudi Arabia opened its sea, land and air borders with Qatar, closed since June 5, 2017, when the Saudis, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt broke diplomatic relations with Doha.
And this very Tuesday, an agreement endingl embargo It was signed in the Saudi city of Al-Ula, during a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that will once again have the presence of the Emir of Qatar.
According to the BBC’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet, a source involved in organizing the summit said that the Saudi decision to open your airspace and land and sea borders it sought to create the confidence necessary to guarantee the assistance of Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
In 2017, when the embargo was imposed, the Qatari monarch said that he would not travel to any country that would restrict the entry of other citizens of his country, which has always rejected accusations of supporting terrorism.
And while the three-and-a-half-year lock down particularly impacted the Qatari economy, it has also been quite expensive for the other Gulf states and especially for their notion of unity, which is what in recognition of the changes in the international political landscape the GCC summit will try to start to heal.
Change of circumstances
Indeed, as the BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner explains, “the lifting of the embargo on Qatar has required months of patient and meticulous diplomacy, primarily from Kuwait, but with an increasingly urgent push from the White House as the Trump presidency draws to a close. “
The professor at the University of Kuwait Bader Alistair, however, relativized the role-played by the Trump administration, stating on Twitter that while the US had been part of the solution, they have also been “part of the problem” having emboldened Saudi Arabia with their unconditional support.
And in the same vein, Karen Young, an expert in political economy from the Gulf of American Enterprise Institute, who in statements collected by the newspaper The Guardian noted that the deal probably has more to do with the changes ahead in Washington and the Saudi need to re calibrate, “as well as the different physical reality of the GCC states.”
For Young, the other Gulf countries need Qatar in the “tent” of the GCC, but that does not mean that they share a vision about its role in the region.
And that is something that Gardner also agrees on, who cautions that Qataris “they will not forgive or forget quickly what they see as a stab in the back from their neighbors in the Persian Gulf. “
” Beyond diplomatic rhetoric, one country in particular, the United Arab Emirates, has serious doubts that Qatar is really going to change its ways. While Qatar denies its support for terrorism, it has supported Islamist political movements in Gaza, Libya and elsewhere, in particular the transnational Muslim Brotherhood, which the UAE sees as an existential threat to their monarchy, “explains the BBC expert.
” Meanwhile, the embargo has brought Qatar closer to the ideological enemies of Saudi Arabia: Turkey and Iran,” he adds.
Indeed, the sanctions were imposed after Qatar refused to comply with a series of demands that included the closure of Al Jazeera television and a cooling of its diplomatic relations with Iran, which has not happened.
And, for the moment, Qatar’s only concession appears to be to have waived the legal claims it had brought against Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies.
Which means that, at best, the end of the embargo will be nothing more the first step on a long road, in which new accidents cannot be ruled out.
Now you can receive notifications from BBC News Mundo. Download our app and activate them so you don’t miss our best content.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.