Dr. Jamal Abdullah, an academic visitor at the Middle East Centre of St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford (2016-2017), gave a timely talk on July 3, 2017, explaining the historical causes and the possible future implications of the Gulf-Qatar crisis in the world and the region.
1) The roots of the current Gulf-Qatar crisis can be traced back to 1995 when Qatar left the umbrella of Saudi Arabia to adopt an independent and open foreign policy. There are three blocs in the GCC with regards to their preferred approach to Iran: 1. Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain are not in favour of any kind of negotiation 2. Qatar and Kuwait have indicated interest 3. Oman has maintained ties with Iran.
2) Despite Qatar not accepting the terms imposed on it, it is not likely that this crisis will cause a breakdown of the Gulf Corporation Council.
3) The blockade has no significant impact on Qatar’s strong economy at the moment as it may be able to support the 5-10% increase in prices due to goods coming from Turkey and South America, which are further away.
4) The key to resolve the crisis is in the hands of the United States (US) and if the US is interested, it could push for negotiations to take place.
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