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Qatar-Gulf Crisis: How to Break the Ice!

Qatar-Gulf Crisis: How to Break the Ice!

By Jawad Akram

Qatar-Gulf Crisis.jpg

Since the eruption of Qatar-Gulf Crisis on 5th June, now almost four months have gone. With no end in sight, this crisis drags on. It’s still far from over. It’s limping towards nothing except to further increase distances among former friends of Gulf region. The prolonged siege and failure to reach some compromise from both sides, is snowballing ire that is bringing potential ramifications for both sides.

Both sides want resolution of this crisis, but on their own terms. Frustration is on rise with passing time, not only within Gulf region but also among Muslims all over the world because Gulf region is the most important region for Muslims in World. Its stability, peace, unity and strength does matter a lot for Muslims scattered throughout world.

Echoes of this crisis were badly hurting when diplomats from Qatar and the four states boycotting it exchanged heated words at an Arab League meeting last month. It was a bleak outlook, foreshadowing a lasting stalemate mired in existing issues, at least for months to come, and may be for years.

Clashes, disputes and mistakes are not uncommon among nations but wise nations and leaders always go for some face saving solutions in such stalemates. A lot of examples of face saving solutions exist even in this modern world. We can see much stronger countries showing big heart just for the sake of ending disputes in larger interests. Stubborn adherence to one’s own stance always aggravates the situation. Leaderships from Qatar and Saudi led bloc should not mind in learning from other countries that how they ended their disputes diplomatically.

Quite recently China and India remained engaged in border standoff i.e., Doklam Standoff, for more than two months from this June to August. During this dispute bellicose rhetoric was launched severely from Chinese side. India also responded in same manner. Position of China, militarily and economically, was much stronger than India. China’s stance was also more logical because China wanted to build a road in a border area controlled by China disputed with Bhutan. Indian Army penetrated that area which even doesn’t have any land contact with India. But after two months of dispute China and India ended this dispute in totally unexpected style. Indian Army left that region, Chinese left the plan of road construction in that area. Previously existing status quo was restored. Nobody claimed victory after resolution. Even media from both side avoided launching furious comments despite this fact that China has accepted the terms of India.

Why not here, Gulf countries in favor of larger interests can’t hug Qatar and bury a few bitter months of past?

Russian-Turkey rapprochement after Turkey shot down Russian Fighter Jet in Syria, November 2015, is another example where dispute was ended amicably after apology from Turkish side.

Why not here, Qatar may modify its policies and accept some demands of Gulf adversaries in a larger interest of this region?

The stiffness from blockading countries is pushing Qatar more and more into Iran’s sphere, albeit most of Qataris would not be happy with this but it has become a compulsion for them to move towards Iran more.

Regarding Turkey, demands of Gulf Countries seem to be baseless. Turkey is posing no threat for their region. Saudi led bloc is turning a blind eye towards immediate threats and trying to see the issues that might come after decades. Immediate threat is from growing Iranian Influence in Syria, Iraq and particularly in Yemen where Shiite population is in majority. And now, changing scenarios in the region are forcing Qatar and Turkey to align with Iran.

Similarly Muslim Brotherhood might be a threat for Egypt but intensity of this threat is not so severe that friendship with Qatar should be sacrificed.

As far as there is question of Al-Jazeera network, it must be acknowledged that internationally only voice of Al-Jazeera has won credibility for this region. A few shortcomings may exist in Al-Jazeera but it doesn’t mean that it should be closed down. The concerns of Gulf nations must be discussed with Qatar and Qatar must take seriously their concerns.

The existence of Iran, its strength, International Position, Iranian Influence and Expansionist tendencies should be kept on table while formulating policies. Iran, itself, is not such a weak country that it can be smashed to smithereens by an alliance of a few neighboring countries. Pushing your own friends into rival’s sphere is just the height of madness, and not the height of wisdom.

To end this crisis, Ice must be broken by showing big heart from both sides following the examples of other countries for ending disputes.

Jawad Akram is an International Affairs Analyst. He has done Masters in International Relations. He can be reached at jawad5677@gmail.com and tweets @jawad5677

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