With No End In Sight, Gulf Blockade Nudges Qatar Closer to Iran

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Nearly five months on, the “crisis” between Qatar and a coalition of nine countries led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has reached a relatively stable equilibrium. The countries’ resultant blockade of Qatar – over its alleged support for terrorist groups and ties to Iran – has not significantly changed Doha’s behavior according to Qatar’s detractors, but rather has pushed it closer to Tehran. Without meaningful diplomatic progress between Qatar and the nine states, there is no end in sight for the dispute that has ruptured the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

  • Starting June 5th, 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Yemen, Egypt, Bahrain and the Maldives released rolling statements announcing they were cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar. Soon after, this bloc – later joined by four other states – instituted a blockade against Qatari trade, shipping, air traffic, and media.
  • Despite relying on its Gulf Arab neighbors for roughly 80 percent of its food, the country has weathered the blockade better than expected by deepening its diplomatic, trade and military ties to regional powers outside the GCC, especially Iran and Turkey.
  • U.S. policy on the dispute remains unclear, but President Donald Trump has reportedly offered to mediate talks between Qatar and the blockading states if the current negotiations, mediated by Kuwait, fail.

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