On Monday 5th of June several Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain) followed by Egypt and the Yemen cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, gave its’ citizens two weeks to leave and only 48 hours its’ diplomats to quit. Additionally Gulf countries closed land, sea and air borders isolating tiny peninsula.
The reasons for those actions were quite loudly vocalised with Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism, close ties with Iran among many others. But the truth is that Qatar had to face those allegations and was on the edge of severe conflict with Gulf countries for years. Therefore the question is why now and not any earlier or any later the temperature between Doha and other Arab capitals reached boiling temperature.
Hardly anything in politics happens by accident, everything is thoroughly thought through by one or the other. Few important things had happened before the crisis erupted. One of which was the USA new administration state visit to Saudi Arabia. Like many journalists and publications pointed out before good relations with the US are essential for every Gulf government. Oddly enough and fortunately for the Saudi King, president Trupm for his first state visit decided to choose not Mexico or Canada, one of the country’s neighbour and big trade partner but Arabian Kingdom. No wonder the presidents’ choice flattered Saudi Monarch, who decided to take his chance and win the battle for Mr Trumps’ heart. And so it happened, the visit went magnificent, with the president touching ‘glowing orb’, taking part in traditional sword dance and talking to Arabs. Whatever they talked about, after the crisis had happened US president expressed his full support for the Saudis.
Only three days after the visit, on 24th of May Qatar claimed as if hackers attacked its’ state run news agency and published fake story quoting ruling emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani making controversial statements about Iran, Israel, Hamas. Alleged comments were shown on a scrolling ticker at the bottom of the screen. Shortly after Saudi Arabia and UAE had blocked Qatari media.
Money. Since 2014 when due to oversupply of oil, prices of the crude dropped dramatically and never came back to the previous level, Saudis must think how to maintain their expensive budget without sacrificing royal luxurious life. Also in the meantime Saudi led coalition against Houthis in the Yemen is not showing signs to end any time soon. Given all that, long lasting crisis with one of the Gulf countries and member of GCC will definitely upset very sensitive market and the oil prices are highly probable to go up again. If only house of Saud control it wisely, without letting the situation to escalate into confrontation or military conflict the country and royal treasury could actually benefit. But if they won’t be able to do so, Qatar left with no better option will do exactly what King Salman is the most afraid of and get even closer to Iran.