The lines of division in the Muslim world have surfaced from time to time, although the Muslim countries could never come out of the swamp of Arab Spring properly even after a decade, the Gulf countries are once again on the verge of disunion.
The problems between Qatar and Saudi Arabia are not new, the same sanctions and cold war tactics were used by Saudi Arabia 3 years back by withdrawing diplomats from Doha because Qatar was accused of “interference in the internal affairs” of Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain. The core issue was the support Qatar publicly expressed for the uprisings of the Arab Spring while leaders of other Muslim nations feared for the survival of their kingdoms and regimes because of the fickle regional conditions.
On 5th June, the problems further aggravated when Saudi Arabia and its proponent countries imposed travel bans to and from Qatar and ordered all Qatari immigrants to return back to their home country within 2-weeks. Qatar is once again standing in a handicap match position where it is accused of “supporting terrorism” and assisting IS, Al Qaeda, and Iranian-backed terrorist groups.
The ongoing political instability resulted from reports emerging that in May, the Emir of Qatar addressed a gathering where he criticized American policies, supported the stance of Iran, and openly accepted the fact that Hamas was working for betterment. A hearsay disseminated amongst the diplomatic circles that Qatar ordered its foreign ambassadors in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other countries in the cluster to return and halt their diplomatic activities in fear that a conspiracy was being designed against the nation. Later, officially Qatar denied such rumors but the media had already done the damage. This created an environment of unease and sowed the seed of trust deficiency within the Gulf.
However, the deep-rooted causes of Islamic countries turning against Qatar are its foreign policies and immense support for obnoxious things in the region like Al Jazeera channel, Hammas, and assistance to Islamist groups completely unacceptable by America and neighboring countries.
The next move on the chessboard
Today, Saudi Arabia along with its allies made their next move by granting Qatar an extension of two more days to succumb to the demands of the alliance. The two significant demands made are the permanent closure of Al Jazeera headquarters in Doha and ejecting Turkish troops employed there. Total 13 demands have been made and Kuwait has been mediating communication and negotiation between the two entities, Saudi Arabia with its allies and Qatar. It has been hinted that failure to comply with conditions presented by Saudi alliance will result in further trade bans plus sucking of all the foreign deposits and investments made in Qatar by citizens of Muslim countries opposing the position of Qatar.
Let’s wait and see what Arab countries have been destined to face in the foreseeable future. United States of America continues to maintain a balanced position by expressing its concerns for both sides of the chess board despite having ideological differences with Qatar.