Success of Qatar's mediation between Gulf Arab countries and Iran is unlikely

Politics Materials 7 May 2011 10:23 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, May 4 /Trend, T.Konyayeva/

Qatar, like no other country, is suitable as a mediator between the Gulf Arab states and Iran, but, nevertheless, the successful outcome of its mediation efforts is hardly possible, experts say.

"The Emirate [Qatar] successfully competes with Saudi Arabia for the role as leading political mediator in the Arab world, President of the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies Yevgeny Satanovsky wrote in an e-mail to Trend. - Good relations with Iran, which it supports, are unique for the countries of Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) but nevertheless, successful mediation between the Gulf Arab states and Iran is unlikely."

Early this week Iran's Foreign Minster Ali Akbar Salehi made an official visit to Qatar, where he conducted meetings with the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani.

During the meeting, the representatives of two countries discussed the ongoing events in the region and bilateral relations.

According to Salehi, after long negotiations the sides came to the conclusion that the consultations on regional issues should continue, and their results should be discussed at meetings between the two countries.

The Iranian FM said that during the negotiations raised the issue of investments by Qatar in Iran, as well as cooperation in political, business sphere and in the field of security.
He also stressed the effective role of the Emirate in resolving political crises in the region recently.

Over recent years, several times Qatar has acted as a mediator in resolving conflicts in various countries, including the resolution of political crisis in Lebanon, as well as in countries such as Indonesia, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Palestine.

According to Satanovsky, the successful mediation of Qatar is unlikely because of the fact that the region goes to the open confrontation between Tehran and Riyadh.

"The events in Bahrain, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria are pushing the confrontation, and to stop its development is also unlikely, like to stop the First World War, to join which nobody wanted in Europe at the time," he said.

Tensions between Iran and the Gulf countries have become even more complicated in recent years after the anti-government demonstrations of Shiites, who make up 75 percent of the population of Bahrain and require greater political rights, started.

Official representatives of Bahrain appealed to the GCC member countries with a request to send additional forces to deal with protesters. After that several countries, including Saudi Arabia, sent a hundreds of soldiers to Bahrain.

Iran has supported the protesters and condemned the entry of the GCC troops in Bahrain, who took an active part in suppressing the demonstrations of Shiites. In response, GCC countries have repeatedly accused Tehran of interfering in their internal affairs. But Tehran denies the accusations, saying that it only provides moral support to Bahrain, but does not interfere in its internal affairs.

Satanovsky believes that cooperation between Qatar and Iran is possible in different areas under certain conditions: in the economy, including investments of Qatar in Iran, in case of cancellation of UN Security Council's anti-Iran sanctions; in politics in case of termination of "expansionist" course of Iran in the Islamic world; in security, in case of cessation of Iranian-Israeli and Iranian-Saudi confrontation; in cultural and educational sphere if there is not armed conflict.

Jordanian expert on Middle East Saleh Zaytun believes that Qatar has already assumed the role of mediator in the conflict resolution between Iran and Gulf Arab countries without an official declaration.

"The government of Qatar understands that improving relations between Iran and Arab countries serves the interests of Qatar, Zaytun told Trend in a telephone conversation. - As a mediator to resolve this problem, Qatar is more suitable for all other countries, since this country that has no internal problems is the most developed country in the region."

According to him, Qatar and Iran have common interests for a long time, including economic and energy interests.

"Given the land and sea neighborhood of Gulf Arab states and Iran, the joint cooperation is beneficial for both sides, said Zaytun. - The deterioration of Iran's relations with the Gulf countries, which could lead to confrontation, would adversely affect the economy of both Iran and Arab countries. Understanding this, Qatar is trying to take advantage of its role in the region and prevent further deterioration of relations with Iran."

A.Tagiyeva contributed to article.