Saud Arabia and Qatar close to resolving the Gulf crisis

Krieg underscored that the ideological rift in the Gulf is between UAE and Qatar, not so much Saudi Arabia.

  • Saudi Arabia and Qatar are taking steps to end the Gulf dispute.
  • The move comes as the U.S. President’s adviser, Jared Kushner, visits the region.
  • Jared Kushner met with the Saudi crown prince and the Qatari emir during his tour.
  • Saudi Arabia has shown eagerness to resolve the Gulf crisis, unlike the UAE or other blockading nations.

Saudi Arabia suspends any dialogue with Qatar – SPA

According to sources cited by Al Jazeera, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are close to striking a preliminary accord to end a dispute that has pitted the Gulf neighbors against each other for more than three years.

(Qatar Government Communications Office)

The expected deal comes after U.S. President Donald Trump’s adviser, Jared Kushner, arrived in the peninsula as part of a last-ditch effort to resolve the Gulf crisis before Trump leaves office in January.

Kushner’s tour included meetings with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh earlier this week, and with the Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in Doha on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) quoted U.S. officials as saying the talks’ main focus would be to resolve a dispute over allowing Qatari planes to fly via the airspace of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia.

(The New Arab)

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that the imminent agreement would not involve Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain, which, together with Saudi Arabia, formed a quartet of blockading nations against Qatar.

Finding common ground

The WSJ reported that the blockading nations had relaxed their demands for lifting the blockade, noting that Saudi Arabia has shown more eagerness to find common ground to resolve the crisis.

“This news is a great step in the right direction that at least paves the way for what will be a conflict resolution effort that will take years,” Andreas Krieg, assistant professor at King’s College London, explained in anticipation of the agreement.

“This announcement will see confidence-building measures being accepted by both sides that are supposed to show the sincerity of Saudi and Qatar to commit to an end of the rift.

“Bilateral committees might operate as a forum for dispute resolution behind closed doors. Only after this period will both sides talk about how to bring the crisis as a whole to an end,” Krieg added.

Krieg underscored that the ideological rift in the Gulf is between UAE and Qatar, not so much Saudi Arabia.

(Kuwait Times)

“The Emirates are not willing to commit to anything at the moment and are intentionally left out of any reconciliation effort by both the Americans and the Kuwaitis.”

“This could leave the Emirates isolated just like after the 2014 episode of the Gulf crisis, sending a negative signal to the Biden administration that Abu Dhabi might be a troublesome player in the region,” Krieg added.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani confirmed two weeks ago that Doha embraced a dialogue as long as it was established on approval for Qatar’s sovereignty.

The minister demonstrated that neither side was benefitting from the continuation of the Gulf crisis.

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