UAE, Saudi campaign to end Qatar’s independence
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2017-06-02 15:34:23

UAE, Saudi campaign to end Qatar’s independence

As soon as the Arab show of unity with US President Donald Trump in Saudi Arabia had ended, a row broke out between US oil-producing allies that Trump had met and praised during his visit to the kingdom.

Three days after Trump and King Salman declared Iran to be the main sponsor of terrorism, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates accused Qatar of trying to undermine efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic. Saudi newspapers, clerics and even some celebrities attacked the Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, accusing him of “stabbing his neighbours with Iran’s dagger”, as they put it.

Analysts pointed out that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are striving to crush any opposition that seeks to weaken the united front against Iranian influence in the Middle East. Both countries are also exerting pressure on Qatar to end its support for Islamic movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

Disagreements among the six Gulf nations have erupted in the past. In 2014, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain temporarily withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar. The conflict centred on Egypt, where Qatar supported the Muslim Brotherhood government while the Saudis and UAE financed the army-led regime that overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar also hosts exiled Hamas leaders.

Sullivan said: “They were supporting some Syrian and Libyan groups while the Egyptians, Saudis and Emiratis had serious problems with them.” He added that this matter, along with its relations with Iran, showed that “Qatar is acting above its strategic weight.”

In 2015, Saudi Arabia brought together an alliance of Sunni countries to fight Shia Yemeni rebels who were loyal to Iran after the Gulf-backed government was overthrown.

Mehran Kamrava, director of the Centre for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University in Qatar, said that Saudi Arabia and UAE see an opportunity to assert their influence after Trump’s visit.

He said:

Internal differences and disagreements are nothing new but what is interesting is the timing and level of pressure, which is fairly unprecedented. This indicates that Saudi Arabia and the UAE will stop at nothing other than complete submission by Qatar.

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Tags:   Saudia ، King Salman ، UAE ، Qatar ، Donald Trump ،
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