The end of Middle East crisis after 3-years | UPSC
How Saudi and Qatar restored ties, ending a 3-year Middle East crisis
WHY IN NEWS:
Approximately three years after a Saudi Arabia-led coalition of four Middle Eastern countries cut ties with Qatar, the Saudi Foreign Minister announced on Tuesday that Riyadh and its three Arab allies would restore full ties with Doha.
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : IR
THE END OF MIDDLE EAST CRISIS
- Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomes Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in al-Ula.
SOURCES : TRIBUNE
- In 2017, Saudi Arabia led an Arab transport blockade against Qatar, ostensibly to punish Doha for its ties with radical Islamist groups.
- Coalition countries put 13 demands as conditions to resume relations, including shutting news organisations such as Al Jazeera, closing a Turkish military base in the country, and downgrading ties with Tehran.
- Qatar called the embargo a violation of international laws and instead, strengthened ties with Iran and Turkey.
- Importantly, Gulf Co-operation Council members Kuwait and Oman broke ranks with the Saudi group, and Kuwait sought to assume the role of mediator between the coalition and Qatar.
QATAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST
- Over the last four decades, Qatar has gone from being one of the poorest Gulf states to one of the wealthiest.
- Qatar has also used its wealth and influence on the wider global stage.
- Qatar shares a huge gas field with Iran, which is an incentive for it to retain good relations with the Shiite regime in Tehran.
- This is a strong irritant for Sunni Saudi Arabia, which seeks to control the geopolitics of the Middle East.
- Qatar has denied backing al-Qaeda and Islamic State, however.
BREAKTHROUGH IN CRISIS
- This was surprising given Qatar’s close ties with the US and its allies, and the fact that the country hosts a massive American military facility at the al-Udeid air base.
- Trump did an about-turn in 2018, however, and praised Qatar’s efforts to combat terrorism.
- The breakthrough came in late 2020, the result of sustained Kuwaiti mediation efforts and intensified US pressure on the Gulf coalition.
- Kushner was among the senior US officials present at the GCC summit in al-Ula this week.
- Kuwaiti Foreign Minister said -“an agreement has been reached to open airspace and land and sea borders between Saudi Arabia and Qatar”.
- Saudi Arabia’s Rotana Media Group had deleted a hate song against Qatar from YouTube that was created in 2017.
SOURCES: IE | The end of Middle East crisis after 3-years | UPSC