Abu Dhabi: Following the decision on Wednesday by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to withdraw their ambassadors from Qatar, analysts warn that the situation could escalate further.
Dr Abdul Khaleq Abdullah, a leading political analyst, said the unprecedented move by the three GCC members was made after their leaders ran out of patience with Qatar’s policies towards supporting the Muslim Brotherhood movement and after the breaching of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s policies and positions, particularly towards Egypt.
“Qatar could face sanctions including closing their borders and airspace with Qatar if Doha doesn’t stop supporting the Muslim Brotherhood,” Dr Abdullah told Gulf News.
Dr Abdullah did not rule out the freezing of the relationship between the three GCC countries and Qatar.
Dr Abdullah said leaders of the three Gulf countries believe that the Qatari Emir did not abide by the agreement he signed in a summit in Riyadh in the presence of the Emir of Kuwait two months ago, to stop the use of the Qatari soil in actions that harm the interests of the Gulf countries.
He noted that Saudi Arabia would lead any such sanctions against Qatar, citing Saudi accusations of Doha supporting the Houthis in Yemen with money and weapons through a Qatari royal family, as well as supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in the Kingdom.
King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia was reported by the London-based Al Arab newspaper to have had the Emir of Qatar write a vow to abide by GCC policies and positions and sign it in the presence of the Emir of Kuwait because he had doubts about the Qatari’s commitment to the agreement, as had happened in previous agreements conducted with him and his father, Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani.
Qatar is the only country among the GCC’s six-nation that supports the Muslim Brotherhood movement.
Dr Ebtisam Al Katbi, chairperson of the Emirates Policy Centre, said the GCC countries made the move as they exhausted all means to bring Qatar back to the GCC’s fold.
“It seems that the Qataris are not aware that the Muslim Brotherhood movement is over. Neither Qatar, nor its allies, would be able to turn back time,” Dr Ebtisam said.
Dr Ebtisam added that neither Turkey, nor the Muslim Brotherhood, would do good to Doha. “Only sisterly Gulf countries are the real supporters of Qatar at good and bad times. Even the United States would not favour Qatar to Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries,” Dr Ebtisam said.
Egypt’s foreign ministry summoned Qatar’s ambassador on Saturday in protest of Doha’s criticism of the military-installed government’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.
Relations between the two countries have deteriorated following the Egyptian military’s overthrow of president Mohammad Mursi and a deadly crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood movement.
The Qatari Al Jazeera news broadcaster has also incensed Egypt’s government with its coverage of a police crackdown on persistent Brotherhood protests since Mursi’s overthrow in July.