N. P. Upadhyaya; Kathmandu: Thanks due to the Kuwait’s secret diplomatic efforts, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are friends now as the two countries have had their ties prior to June 5, 2017.
State of Oman too is learnt to have assisted Kuwait in mediating Saudi-Qatar high voltage conflict.
A mere embrace of Crown Prince MBS and Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani early January this year brought the two estranged countries together once again.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greeted Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani upon his arrival to attend the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) 41st Summit in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia January 5, 2021.
The auspicious moment was 5th January 2021, the Al Ula Declaration (the “Declaration”) was signed with Qatar during the 41st Gulf Cooperation Council Summit at Al-Ula in Saudi Arabia, international media sources have reported.
The confrontation that had developed over these years thus came to an end.
Analysts in the Gulf region say that “the participating states at the Al-Ula GCC conference unanimously agreed henceforth not to “infringe on the sovereignty, threaten the security or target the social fabric” of the other participating states.
The words chosen have meaning underneath for the participating GCC countries.
The Saudi crown prince, MBS, who chaired the GCC summit, thanked his allies and friends for interceding with Qatar over past years to bring about the resumption of relations at the summit, wrote Edward Yeranian for the Voice of America, January 6, 2021.
Talking to the media men at the Al-Ula GCC meet, the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, said that the move to restore amicable ties with Qatar was aimed at ensuring “that the security, stability and prosperity of the countries housed in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and people are the first priority, report Herbert Smith, Stuart Paterson, Nick Oury and Janine Mallis for the Lexology dated January 14, 2021.
This applies to Qatar and the countries who in the past had severed ties with Qatar.
Talking to media person in Riyadh, the Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan, January 16, 2021 declared that his country will soon open its diplomatic mission in Doha.
How long this is “soon” is however not known.
In diplomacy only national interests mean much as against all the rest.
Thus the restoration of the ties between KSA and Qatar must have some meaning as the breakup of the ties have had.
Is it the ties of both with the US a common factor?
President Trump relative Jared Kushner mediated between the parties and was present during the GCC signing ceremony in Al-Ula.
The conflict started because both, KSA and Qatar, wanted to increase their regional influence which apparently annoyed Saudi Crown Prince who took a solo decision to penalize comparatively a small nation, Qatar, by severing its diplomatic ties and imposing a stringent blockade on Qatar beginning June 5, 2017, which banned Qatar registered planes and ships from utilizing their air space and sea routes, along with KSA blocking Qatar’s only land crossing.
The allies of the Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrein, and Egypt on the personal request of the MBS followed Saudi Arabian suit.
Qatar’s air, land and sea links with its neighbors were censored, which forced Qatar to increase imports for food and medicine from Turkey, Oman and others.
It was a display of Petro dollar and MBS arrogance.
Qatar remained undeterred and the four yearlong diplomatic boycott eventually came to a happy ending for Qatar in that the latter’s patience and stance brought dividends which definitely added one more feather in Qatari cap.
However, now when things have come to settle down, the Qatari and the KSA’s initiatives now should be not to confront or annoy the regional countries but instead work with them to further enhance the intimacy with the countries nearby.
Qatar needs to thank Kuwait and Oman State for it were these two small nations which arbitrated in between the countries in confrontation.
Kuwait and Oman, who are equally close to Saudi Arabia and the Qatar acted like a benevolent mediator(s) in between the conflicting countries.
Kuwait in a beaming manner announced that Saudi Arabia was intending to reopen its airspace, sea and land borders with Qatar.
The increasing popularity of the Doha, Qatar based media Moghul, Al Jazeera and the dissemination of its free, impartial and independent comments and opinions somehow or the other pinched several countries in the region more so to the Saudi rulers and hence the countries affected by Al Jazeera’s airing of blunt comments, preferred to “teach a fitting” lessons to Qatar.
One of the most prominent political reason for the blockade on Qatar from KSA was Al Jazeera.
Independent media is ever a threat to “dictators” world over.
Both the State of Qatar and Al Jazeera remained undeterred.
The Saudi rulers many a times prior to 2017 blockade had approached Doha through their own channels urging the rulers to shut down the Al Jazeera media house for all time to come.
Qatar did not entertain the Saudi requests.
The other reason for the Saudi led coalition of the countries against Qatar is talked to have been the Qatari involvement in alleged acts of “supporting terrorism”.
These countries accuse Qatar being engaged in helping and providing assistance to some Islamist groups such as the al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood-the archenemy of Saudi Arabia.
The other allegation from Saudi Arabia on Qatar was anti-Saudi propaganda perhaps through Al Jazeera which we have already mentioned above.
Brushing aside the flimsy and manufactured allegations, Qatar instead claimed that it has helped the United States of America in the War of Terror.
Qatar denied unambiguously that it has not done anything wrong either against the regional countries or against the United States’ war on terror initiative.
The truce of today is the net result of the Kuwaiti mediation and the sincerity of the non-indulgence of Qatari rulers in subversive activities against the regional countries more so against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Notably, Saudi Arabian rulers more so the Crown Prince prefers to belittle the image of the countries who per chance differ with the stance taken by the KSA on regional and international affairs.
The affluent Saudi rulers take the poor Muslim nations as “inferiors” who throng to KSA for bread and butter and also to have a dignified life upon return from the Saudi jobs.
It is this compulsion of the poor Muslim countries, including Hindu Nepal, to rush to Saudi Arabia for suitable jobs.
Workers from Pakistan and India are in millions in KSA and other countries of the Gulf.
The KSA is the ditto of the Indian establishment which tries ever to subjugate the smaller countries that unfortunately fall in its immediate neighborhood.
Nepali workers prefer to land in Qatar for jobs.
Undeniably, the KSA appears to have acquired the “arrogance” after the advent of the Crown Prince MBS who is still to mature politically and diplomatically.
MBS’s high level of haughtiness gets reflected from the undiplomatic manner he asked the Government of Pakistan led by PM Imran Khan to “return one Billion dollar loan money” immediately.
MBS penal action came on Pakistan as the Pak foreign Minister S. M. Qureshi threatened the Saudi Arabian rulers to summon the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) meet to discuss the serious issues and problems of the people living inside the India’s Illegally Occupied Kashmir after the abrogation of the special status on August 5, 2019.
FM Qureshi in Islamabad had hinted Riyadh that if the latter failed to convene the meet of the OIC then he would be forced to summon a separate meet of some foreign ministers from Muslim countries to discuss the Kashmiri subject after the scrapping of the article 370.
The India bend Saudi Crown Prince ignored the Pakistani appeal but bowed down to Islamophobic Indian PM Modi.
This exercise in between the two Muslim nations, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, brought the ties immediately to the lowest ebb.
Saudi Arabia being predominantly a Muslim nation practically has no respect for smaller and poor Muslim nations.
KSA enjoys from the fractured Muslim unity.
The Saudi rulers, the Crown Prince mainly, treats the smaller nations even in the Gulf as inferior to the Saudi Arabians concluding that they house the Mecca-the highest religious site of the Muslims across the globe.
Muslims all over the world wish to at least visit Mecca in SA once in their lifetime.
The Saudi Arabian relations with Qatar could well be taken as equivalent to gigantic scoundrel India and the infinitesimal Nepal.
But Nepal and Qatar are the two smaller countries (Qatar is even smaller than Nepal) who have braved the unceremonious “blockades” many a times from their stupid neighbors. .
Nepal has this horrible knowledge which Qatar must have also experienced over these past four years.
What India is for Nepal, Saudi is for Qatar?
One more friction in Saudi-Qatar ties could be due to the latter’s sound and intimate relations with Islamic Iran.
Needless to say, during the period of diplomatic boycott, Qatar inched closer to Iran which is what infuriated Saudi Arabia and its allies.
In fact, Qatar supports Iran and vice versa, with which the former shares the largest natural gas field in the world.
Qatar’s relations with Iran and Turkey will not be affected by Doha’s recent reconciliation agreement with blockading states Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt, Doha’s chief diplomat, foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said, says a Middle Easy Eye portal dated January 14, 2021.
The Qatari FM further said that his country will maintain its independent foreign policy, said FM Thani while being interviewed by The Financial Times after Qatari truce with the KSA.
If Saudi Arabia is very close to the United States of America then, Iran is a country which is not in the good book of the US since long.
The fact is also that Iran hates the US but still hopes that the incoming US President Joe Biden will be bit soft and more generous to Iran. The Iranian hope is based on the assumption that Joe Biden being modest, may simplify the estranged US-Iran ties.
Notably, when relations with Saudi Arabia broke down, Iran opened its air space to Qatar as well as its sea routes. Iran came to help Qatar at times of crisis.
The group that boycotted Qatar for years may take comfort for having distanced Iran from Qatar, however, Qatar may not necessarily abandon Iran for its newly developed ties with KSA, Bahrein, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt.
Hopefully, Qatar which hosts the venue of the Afghan peace process is supposedly close to the US and thus may also mediate the tensed US-Iran ties should the both wish mediation.
It is here once again PM Khan can also make secret efforts to ease the US-Iranian long drawn conflict along with Qatar.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan can appeal both the US and Iran to come to terms at least to bring in peace in this part of the world.
PM Khan can do it easily as he is the one political persona in the broader Asian region plus Middle East who is equally comfortable with both the US and Iran.
Observers in Nepal believe that Khan without wasting available precious time should make secret efforts in easing tensions that have marred the US-Iranian ties since long.
Iran would love to patch differences with the US if Islamabad mediates.
Khan will hopefully enjoy political leverage with the US incoming Presidency on settling the long drawn Afghanistan conflict.
Joe Biden too needs peace in Afghanistan for which PM’s Khan good offices are not only a must but more than necessary-a prerequisite.
However, the opposition parties in Pakistan under the instructions of “regional destabilizer” appear determined in toppling the Khan government by the month of March, two months from now onwards. It must have been trying days for PM Khan.
If Khan is toppled per chance then Afghanistan peace perhaps will be in absolute trouble for some understandable political reasons pertaining to Afghani Talibans.
Joe Biden is smart enough to understand the situation and may act accordingly which helps US bid in heralding peace in Afghanistan after the troop’s withdrawal.
South Asian nations believe, other than regional bully India, that Pakistani help is crucial in ushering in peace in Afghanistan.
President elect Joe Biden perhaps is in full knowledge that Pakistani support will be full and final for the prevalence of “positive peace” in Afghanistan.
President Biden would also seek the Pakistani favor to stabilize Afghanistan because the “regional spoilers” will wish to shake Afghanistan for having been ignored in the restoration of peace in Afghanistan.
Guess which country the US special envoy, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad in the recent months ignored in South Asia?
President elect Joe Biden has to settle so many scores with the Islamophobic Indian PM for his brutal and cruel behaviors shown towards the predicament of the Kashmiri population.
Biden is on record to have assured the American-Pakistani diaspora that he when in power will bring in the issue of Kashmir to table.
Kamala Harris too subscribes to the Biden line on Kashmir.
The Saudis and the Iranians also differ with each other on religious grounds-the Shia-Sunni sects.
Moreover, Saudi rulers appear ever threatened by the Islamic Iran for its close ties with Qatar as mentioned in the earlier paragraphs.
The most pinching and humiliating to the KSA is the Qatar’s ruling Thani family ignoring the KSA’s intensive pressure to join the Saudi Kingdom despite the fact that in Qatar as in Saudi Arabia, the Hanbali School of religious law and its Wahabi branch hold sway.
Saudis opine that the present day Qatari rulers have their historical links with Saudi Arabia.
In the meanwhile, analysts in the Gulf claim that Qatar now intends to mediate KSA and Turkey relations.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia are not in good terms. Taking Qatar into confidence, Pakistani Prime Minister can play the mediatory role.
Even if Pakistan has a tensed ties with the KSA but yet, Khan’s clean role will perhaps be welcome to both the conflicting countries.
Notably, Khan and President Erdogan enjoy more than cordial ties. Khan must act now. That’s all.