On Monday, the world was shaken by one of the most massive recent diplomatic scandals. 5 countries at a time: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Maldives and Mauritius announced the break of diplomatic relations with Qatar. Also, they were joined by the puppet governments from Libya and Yemen. This step is essentially a declaration of war to the emirate.

At the same time, the matter went further than the next gap in diplomatic relations, as it was already more than once. Land, air and sea communications with Qatar were also cut off. All countries except Egypt (employing 250,000 AER citizens in Qatar) ordered their citizens to leave Qatar. In addition, the offices of Qatari TV channel al-Jazeera were closed in the Gulf countries. The accusations are quite common - support and financing of terrorists, destabilization of the situation and the threat to the security of the region.

Qatar, in turn, considers the decisions of Saudi Arabia and other countries on the severance of diplomatic relations unjustified and based on unfounded accusations. Are these accusations true?

Not just an emirate ...

The emirate of Qatar stands apart from all other monarchies of the Persian Gulf for both economic and political reasons.

Let's start with the economy. Unlike other Arab countries of the Gulf, the main source of income of the emirate is not oil, but gas, which is delivered liquified to world markets with the help of specialized vessels and LNG-terminals. Especially active build-up of the LNG-fleet began after 1995, when Hamad bin Khalifa at-Thani became the emir. At the same time, was launched the Al-Jazeera channel, which greatly increased Qatar's influence in the Middle East. Thus, revenues from exports of liquefied gas. Even despite active investment in infrastructure, the development of the chemical industry and the production of components for alternative energy sources, the ruling dynasty provides about $ 100 billion a year of extra money that it actively and efficiently uses.

The political reasons for the differences between Qatar and its neighbors are that the emirate is one of the two worlds Wahhabi states. Representatives of the ruling dynasty at-Tani belong to the tribe of Banu Tamim. Another descendant of this tribe is the founder of Wahhabism Mohammed Abd al-Wahhab. Thus, even such a distant relationship gives grounds to the emirs of Qatar to consider themselves the "true Wahhabis." In contrast to Saudi Arabia, which the ruling family of Qatar regards as the "stray cattle", who distorted and excessively toughened the teachings of Abd al-Wahhab.

During the Arab Spring, the combination of almost unlimited financial resources, media influence of Al Jazeera and political ambitions of Emir Hamad led to the fact that for a short time Qatar became one of the main external beneficiaries, relying on the Muslim Brotherhood who came to power: the AKP in their Egyptian version, En-Nahda in Tunisia or Islah in Yemen. Even in the face of a number of tactical defeats (the military coup in Egypt, the actual destruction of Islah in Yemen and the weakening of An-Nahda's positions in Tunisia, the influence of the emirate on Middle East politics remains significant. In particular, Qatar stood at the origins of the establishment of the Islamic state, and maintained contact until at least mid-2016.

Also, the emirate actively supports a number of groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula, primarily the Vilayat Sinai of the Islamic State. Moreover, the emirate is financed by the self-proclaimed government of Khalifa Al-Gveil, based in Tripoli and a number of groups associated with ISIS in Afghanistan.

Thus, the accusations against Qatar are more than justified. Another question is that it is not surprising anyone in the Middle East, as far as this is a common way of promoting one’s interests in the region, which is also used by Iran and Jordan and Saudi Arabia as well.
It should be noted that despite the rather solid track record, the conflict between the emirate and the rest of the parties (primarily Saudi Arabia and Iran) rarely went so far. Competing in some regions (like in Egypt) they cooperated normally in others (Syria, Yemen). What was the real trigger of today's aggravation of the situation?

(Un)expected alliances

The publication of allegedly fake extracts from the speech of Emir Tamim Al-Thani is hardly worth considering seriously as a factor in the development of the conflict.

It is more likely that the reason for the deterioration of diplomatic relations with Qatar is the rapprochement of the emirate with the main rival of Saudi Arabia in the region - Iran.

Signs of active cooperation between the emirate and Iran have been observed since the beginning of the year. So, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif paid an official visit to Doha on March 8 to meet with his counterpart Mohammed bin Jassem Al-Thani, as well as the actual emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Further, in April it became known that Qatar paid about 1 billion USD to high-ranking officials of the Iranian special services and to the commanders of the Shiite military units supported by Tehran, allegedly in redemption for the liberation of 26 subjects of the emir.
Next. Last week, Sheikh Tamim Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, held a telephone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, during which the sheikh called on to significantly expand bilateral relations.

“The states of the region should cooperate. Without this, it will not be possible to overcome the crisis faced by the Middle East. We are ready for negotiations, for reaching an agreement," Rouhani said.

Furthermore. On May 25, the Iraqi media reported that on the eve of Trump's meeting with the leaders of the Arab countries in Baghdad, a secret meeting of Qatar's Foreign Minister with Kassem Sulaimani, commander of the al-Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, was held.

Iraqi sources reported a major breakthrough in Qatar-Iranian intelligence relations between the two countries, which would give Iran more opportunities in the region.

In this context, Iran's reaction to events is more than indicative.

“Neighbors are constant; Geography can not be changed. Coercion is never a solution. Dialogue is necessary, especially during the blessed Ramadan,” Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote in his Twitter.

Moreover, Iran is ready to supply food products to Qatar. The corresponding statement was made by the Head of the Association of Agricultural Exporters of Iran Reza Nurani.


In the short term, the conflict between Arab monarchies will not be able to go too far due to the United States in the first place.
One of the largest US military bases of Al-Udeid is located on the territory of the emirate. It is 34 km south-west of the country's capital. Headquarters of CENTCOM (Central Command of the US Armed Forces) and also about 11 thousand military personnel are stationed on the base.

However, in the case of the convergence of Qatar with Iran, the United States will have to evacuate Al-Udeid, most likely to the very Saudi Arabia. However, this bears minimal risks for the emirate, since the country's military cover can provide another ally of the emirate - Turkey. In 2014, the two countries signed an agreement "On Combating Common Enemies", essentially meaning the formation of a defense alliance. Since April 2016 a Turkish military base with about 3 thousand military personnel has been deployed in the territory of Qatar.

In case such a decision is adopted, the transfer of the base will take a minimum of two or three years.
The US response to the above is logical. Secretary of State Tillerson called on the parties to reconciliation.

“We will certainly encourage the parties to sit down at the negotiating table and eliminate these differences,” Tillerson said.

Well, temporary difficulties with the supply of everything necessary can be overcome if desired, in a relatively short time, with the help of Iran, Iraq or other enemies of Saudi Arabia.

Roman Kot