Rift among PGCC States: Big Impacts on Region
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Rift among Persian Gulf littoral states will not end in short term and its political, social and economic effects can make big changes in political sphere of the region.
While Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has called for dialogue to resolve a political crisis pitting his country against other Arab states, but the four boycotting states seems to be unwilling to welcome the offer.
The defiant Sheikh said life was continuing as normal despite what he described as an unjust "siege" from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt.
The countries cut ties and imposed sanctions on Qatar last month, accusing it of financing extremist groups and supporting terrorism, which the emir denied.
Despite Qatar emir televised speech and his call for dialogue, the reactions to the speech is not positive.
An official comment from the four Arab countries had yet to be issued, but a Saudi royal court advisor described it as a piece of literary work written by a school student. "Had it been written by a student in middle school he would have flunked," Saud al-Qahtani wrote on his Twitter account.
Commentators hosted by the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television also denounced the speech.
"This is a speech of obstinacy which sends messages that Qatar will not stop supporting terrorism," said Ali al-Naimi, editor of an online news website published in the UAE.
In the meantime, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said Qatari officials must revise their policies before discussions could begin, making the possibility of imminent talks more remote.
However as Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim has vowed to withstand the sanctions and said he had instructed the Qatari government that Qataris should become more self-reliant and called for the economy to be opened up to foreign investments, the solution to the ongoing crisis between these states is not available at least for a forseeable future.
Also, media reports said that there are few signs that the US and regional mediation is making progress towards breaking the impasse, even though it is clear that the dispute is damaging all concerned.
That is while, from the beginning of the discord among the Arab countries, US officials have echoed different signals and voiced various statements. At first, they supported Saudi-led besiege and later on they tried to play the role of a mediator.
According to Financial Times, US officials have escalated a spat fueled by personal enmities into a regional crisis before giving diplomacy a chance. They were encouraged along this path by President Trump, whose overt alignment with Saudi Arabia has undermined efforts by Rex Tillerson to end the crisis.
Tillerson has called for an end to the embargo. Mr Trump should encourage the club of four to draw back to provide an opening for talks. While it is reasonable to expect Qatar to compromise, it cannot be expected to relinquish sovereignty.
Meanwhile, the European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini has called for swift direct talks to resolve the Persian Gulf crisis between Qatar and its neighboring states.
Mogherini's remarks came in a statement issued on Sunday after she met with Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah and expressed EU support for his "relentless mediation efforts" in the dispute.
The statement said the EU was ready to support the process of negotiations and assist in the implementation of a plan for the resolution of the crisis, in particular in the area of counterterrorism.
As the UK and the US urged an end to the spat, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - an important ally of Qatar - started a tour of Persian Gulf littoral states for possible mediation to end the crisis.
Inevitably the PGCC rift will also chill the appetite of foreign investors that many Persian Gulf states need to reinvent themselves as non-oil economies.
Al Jazeera said in a report titled ‘How Will Qatar-Gulf Crisis Shape the Region's Economy?' that perhaps these regimes simply look upon these policies as sunk costs in a battle to impose a singular vision for the future of the Arab region. Or maybe they are part of a long-term investment strategy expected to reap future rewards when neighboring states come into the fold of Saudi hegemony.
In either case, the longer that this crisis drags on, the less likely it is that the economic arrangements that have long defined relations within the PGCC can be restored.
For its part, Qatar has already reoriented its trade towards Turkey and Iran, from whom it has begun to import goods that once came through Saudi Arabia.