Baku, Azerbaijan, June 5
By Farhad Daneshvar – Trend:
Qatar, which has been known as a mediator for many regional disputes, is now drawn into serious disputes amid growing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran over mutual accusations of sponsoring terrorism.
Saudi Arabia and its regional allies severed ties with Qatar on Monday over Doha’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s oldest Islamist movement, and also its ties with Saudis’ arch-rival Iran, sparking off simmering dispute in the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The tiny island nation of Bahrain cited “[Qatar’s] media incitement, support for armed terrorist activities, and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading chaos in Bahrain" as a justification to join the move initiated by Saudi Arabia.
Qatar, however, describes the decision by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt as unjustified, terming the allegations baseless.
Hamid Aboutalebi, a senior Iranian official with presidential office, was the first to echo Tehran’s concerns over the move, saying the era of imposing sanctions is over and measures such as cutting diplomatic ties, closing borders, and blockades are incapable of resolving the crises.
The Saudi allies, in the meantime, have announced their plan to close air and sea transport links to Qatar with the UAE’s Etihad Airways suspending all flights to and from Doha, leaving Iran as the sole transportation route to the blockaded Arab nation.
“The decision to severe ties with Qatar makes it inevitable for Doha to foster Iran ties,” Sadegh Zibakalam, a renowned political analyst and professor at Tehran University, told Trend.
Ties between Saudi Arabia, the bastion of Sunni Islam as well as a loyal ally of the White House, and Iran, the Shia power close to the Kremlin, have been broken since they support each other’s enemies in proxy wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. However, Tehran-Riyadh disputes go back in history with deep roots in religion.
Forecasting that the strained ties between the Arab states will continue to worsen in future, Zibakalam concluded that Tehran is very likely to back Qatar in the Saudi row as ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia have already broken off.