Qatar Will Not Establish Ties With Israel
The day after Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced a treaty between the two countries, Qatar said that it will not establish diplomatic relations with Israel until the conflict with the Palestinians is resolved. New alliances between the Gulf States and the United States have been formed by a common distrust of Iran. During this period Qatar has been the target of a diplomatic boycott by some of its neighbors including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. This conflict could be easing according to the Qatari assistant foreign minister.
Qatar Holds Firm
Following the historic announcement that Israel and other Gulf Arab neighbors were planning to establish diplomatic relations, Qatar announced that it will not join the party. Israel and the UAE announced that they plan to sign the first treaty between Gulf nations and this was followed by a similar announcement from Bahrain. While some of Qatar’s neighbors are willing to move forward with a peace agreement, Qatar cannot seem to get beyond the conflict that Israel continues to have with its Palestinian neighbors. The bond that is forming with the US and some of the Gulf nations is the common distrust of Iran, which had driven new alliances as regional issues continue to shift. Qatar continues to have a normal relationship with the Islamic Republic which has driven a wedge between Qatar and many of its neighbors. Many of Qatar’s neighbors have accused Qatar of financially supportingthe Middle East terrorist groups.
Qatar is Mending its Wounds with its Neighbors
Qatar is attempting to end a boycott of its country between the UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. Negotiations between the countries have now moved beyond the initial demands that the boycotting states have required to form a new resolution. This includes, but is not limited to shutting down the countries state-funded TV stations Al-Jazeera, who is a frequent critic of the other countries that are neighbors of Qatar and generates volatility in online trading.
High-Level Meetings with the US Could Forge an Agreement
The US is attempting to be the peace-maker by having a high-level meeting with Qatar in the second week of September. According to reports, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross met leading Qatari officials which was the beginning of a U.S.-Qatar Strategic dialogue. To solidify their efforts, a framework agreement on culture and economic cooperation will be signed by the U.S. and a Qatari delegation. The agreement will be signed by Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and Finance Minister Ali Shareef al-Emadi.
The US is at the forefront of this effort to create peace between the middle-east states. President Trump spoke with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman in early September and asked the King to terminate the rift among Persian Gulf neighbors. The White House is attempting to persuade Saudi Arabia to end its ban on Qatar and ease tensions in the Gulf.
The Bottom Line
Everyone wants something and the circle of demand in the Gulf will be a difficult mountain to tackle. Qatar is unlikely to establish formal ties with Israel without progress in talks with the Palestinians. The White House wants peace in the Gulf and wants Qatar to sign on along with recent peace agreements between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain. The White House also wants the end of a boycott between Qatar and its neighbors likely in return for a peace agreement with Israel. The US seems to be right in the middle of these agreements to further generate influence in the middle-east.