Baku, Azerbaijan, July 7
By Elena Kosolapova – Trend:
The US could intervene in Qatar- Gulf crisis as a mediator, Khader Sawaed, researcher in the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies (Mitvim) and research associate in Israeli Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) believes.
“So far, the mediation between the parties of the crisis has been made by Kuwait. Germany may join the next stage. Germany's foreign minister has visited the Gulf states this week. At some point, there will also be American intervention, since the US has many and varied interests with Qatar and Saudi Arabia,” Sawaed told Trend.
He noted that the US will not allow a rolling-down of the crisis or a potential escalation.
“The strategic, military and economic interests of the United States (mainly), as well as those of the EU countries, will cause them to mediate between the rival parties and pressure them to end the crisis peacefully,” the expert said.
Commenting on the reasons of the Qatar crisis, Sawaed noted that ostensibly, the crisis is the result of statements attributed to the emir of Qatar, as well as the an alleged $1 billion ransom to radical organizations supported by Iran that was reportedly paid to release members of Qatar’s royal family’s members.
“In fact, the real issues behind the crisis are the deep gaps between Qatar and Saudi Arabia and its allies in relation to Iran, political Islam organizations (Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood) and issues of regional leadership, mainly between Saudi Arabia and Qatar – a struggle for status that began two decades ago,” Sawaed said.
He noted that the sanctions imposed by Saudi Arabia and its allies indicate that the current crisis is considerably more serious than previous clashes in the region, including an incident in 2014, when Saudi Arabia and other countries returned their ambassadors from Qatar.
Sawaed does not exclude that current Qatar- Gulf crisis could last long. He reminded that the crisis of 2014, which was more limited than the current crisis, lasted eight months.
“The desire of Saudi Arabia and its allies for Qatar's swift surrender will not realize,” he said.
The expert noted that if Qatar continues to oppose the demands of its neighbors (along with its possible rapprochement with Turkey and Iran), this could lead to a political, economic and even military escalation, although the chances of a military confrontation are low in light of the involvement of Saudi Arabia (and, to a certain extent, the UAE) in Yemen.
“The dramatic changes in the order of successions inside the Saudi royal house led to dissatisfaction within the Saudi royal family. I suppose that the Saudi Arabia's de-facto ruler, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, doesn't want another front alongside the Yemeni front and the front within the Saudi house,” Sawaed said.
He noted that Saudi Arabia's willingness to reduce its list of claims and to extend its ultimatum to Qatar indicates a lack of willingness for escalation, at least at this stage of the crisis.
“The continuation of the crisis depends on the first stage of the Qatari response to the list of claims of Saudi Arabia and its allies, as well as the response of those countries to the Qatari response. I assume that Qatar didn't accept some of the claims presented to it and therefore the crisis will continue,” he said.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt broke off diplomatic relations and communication with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs. Later, the Maldives, Mauritius, and Mauritania also announced the severance of diplomatic relations. Jordan and Djibouti reduced the level of their diplomatic missions in Qatar.
Later, Kuwait, which is serving as a mediator between Qatar and the Gulf States, handed the demands of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain over to Doha. The requests include the severance of Qatar’s relations with Iran, closure of Turkey’s military base on Qatar's territory and a shutdown of the Al Jazeera TV channel. Doha was given 10 days to implement the demands, the deadline expired on Sunday.
Qatar has called the conditions impossible and urged for their revision.