Why tiny Qatar is irritating Saudi Arabia and its allies

Monday, 5 June, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies announced the severance of diplomatic relations with Qatar, explaining his decision by the fact that this tiny country is too tolerant of Iran and Islamist groups such as Muslim brotherhood. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Egypt took the decision to break off diplomatic relations with Qatar comes just a week after US President Donald trump visited the region and together with Saudi Arabia has criticized Iran for supporting terrorists in countries from Syria to Yemen.

1. What caused diplomatic tensions?

The case mainly in Iran. The spark that kindled this fire was a report by the Qatari state news Agency, which was given the comments of the ruler of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani), criticized the growth of anti-Iranian sentiment. Qatar officials quickly removed this comment, blamed for the emergence of some hackers and urged to remain calm. Criticism from the media of Saudi Arabia and the UAE have intensified after Sheikh Tamim at the weekend called on the phone to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (Hassan Rouhani), demonstrating a clear disregard for the opinion of Saudi Arabia.

2. All in tense relations between Sunnis and Shiites?

Partly. The Islamic Republic of Iran, led by Shia, is the main regional rival of Saudi Arabia, which was ruled by Sunnis. These two major oil exporter supports the opposite side in several conflicts, including in Syria. Explaining the decision to cut diplomatic ties, Saudi Arabia referred to the fact that Qatar supports “terrorist groups seeking to destabilize the situation in the region, including the “Muslim brotherhood”, “Islamic state” and al-Qaeda (a terrorist organization banned in Russia — approx. ed.). It also accused Qatar of supporting “Iran-sponsored terrorist groups” operating in the Eastern province of the Kingdom and in Bahrain.

3. Why the severance of diplomatic relations happened just now?

The situation become tense after a visit to trump. A few days later after the trump and the king of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdul-Aziz (Salman bin Abdulaziz) called Iran the main sponsor of terrorism in the world, the Kingdom and the UAE accused Qatar of trying to disrupt the plans of isolating Iran. With the criticism of Sheikh Tamim was made by the newspaper, spiritual leaders and even celebrities. The Department of “al-Jazeera” in Riyadh and accused him that he hit his neighbors Iranian dagger.

4. Analysts say?

Inspired by the vision of strengthening ties with the United States under the administration of the tramp, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are trying to crush any opposition seeking to weaken the United front fighting against Iranian influence in the middle East. These two States are also trying to put pressure on Qatar to stop to assist such Islamist movements as the Muslim brotherhood and Hamas, which controls Gaza.

5. What does Iran?

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, who in may was re-elected for a second four-year term, argues that his country is ready to start negotiations to resolve the crisis. At the same time, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Ali Khamenei), who has more power than Rouhani, said that the Saudi regime is experiencing some decline due to its policy in Yemen. In 2015, Saudi Arabia formed a coalition of Sunni States to fight Shiite rebels in Yemen, under the Iran, who managed to overthrow the government, backed by Gulf countries. The war in Yemen continues.

6. Even where the interests of Saudi Arabia and Iran?

These two countries support opposing sides of conflicts in several countries of the region, from Syria to Yemen. Suspicions that cyber attacks on government agencies of Saudi Arabia was Iran, threatened to further increase tensions between the two countries at the end of 2016. Earlier, in 2016, after the execution of influential Shiite spiritual leader in Saudi Arabia, protesters set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, with the result that Saudi Arabia has severed diplomatic ties with Iran.

7. Are there any differences with Qatar something new?

In 2014, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain temporarily recalled their ambassadors from Qatar. Then the cause of tensions was Egypt, where Qatar supported the government of “Muslim brotherhood” and Saudi Arabia and the UAE sponsored a military coup. In addition, Qatar has found refuge, the leaders of Hamas and the Taliban. According to analysts, Saudi Arabia and its allies want to show to Qatar, a country whose population is 2.6 million people, what he’s trying to play not in their strategic category.

8. Qatar is not trying to do it?

Now to a lesser extent. In the period of the Arab spring uprisings, the leadership of Qatar has supported groups that called for change — becoming an exception among the governments of the countries of the Middle East. Group “Muslim Brothers” since mostly failed in 2014, faced with threats from their neighbors in the Persian Gulf, Qatar refused to support them. Qatar also aims to become a leading mediator in the region. Its leaders have links with a huge variety of the parties from warring tribes in Libya and the Taliban to the United States. On the other hand, supporting certain parties in the Arab spring revolutions, Qatar has almost lost its status of neutral mediator.

9. What else can you say about Qatar?

It is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, boasts the world’s highest income per capita. Qatar will host the world Cup 2022. There is also the headquarters of the TV channel “al Jazeera”. In 2003, when Saudi Arabia refused to place on its territory the American control center air operations in the region, Qatar had offered their services. Today there is 10 thousand military. (In may, trump held talks with Sheikh Tamim on the question of the purchase of Qatar us military equipment. Then trump said that the United States and Qatar “long ago friends”.)

10. As the severance of diplomatic relations will affect the markets?

Any friction in the region cause unrest in the markets. Disputes between the Gulf countries can limit their attractiveness to foreign investors. Prior to the visit, trump representatives of Citigroup noted that the growth of tension in relations between the US and Iran may have a “significant” impact on the oil and financial markets. Securities Qatar lost 5% of the cost.

11. Than the current friction different from the past?

“In the internal disagreements and disputes are nothing new, but in this case, particular attention is paid to the timing and unprecedented pressure,” said Kamrava Mehran (Mehran Kamrava), Director of the center for international regional studies at Georgetown University in Qatar, referring to the recent visit of trump. It says that “Saudi Arabia and the UAE want to completely subjugate Qatar”.