Dubai: The unprecedented decision by Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain to recall their ambassadors to Qatar was taken after the three countries reached a “political and diplomatic point of desperation” in trying to convince Doha to sing the tunes of its neighbours, Gulf experts said.
While Qatar reacted by announcing it will not recall its ambassadors, political analysts don’t rule out the possibility of a Kuwaiti mediation especially since Kuwait and Oman have not joined the trio in their decision.
“The decision is not a coincidence or a result of a political difference,” said Turki Al Sudairi, editor-in-chief of Al Riyadh newspaper. “It came because of disapproval to certain [Qatari] positions — as if Qatar was not a member of the Gulf group, or as if it has a separate interests,” he told Gulf News.
When asked about the issues of differences, the veteran Saudi journalist replied “they are those related to foreign policies that affect the Gulf” bloc.
However, Waheed Hamza Hashem, a political science professor at Jeddah-based King Abdul Aziz University, noted that the differences are not confined to their position on the Muslim Brotherhood.
Among other issues, Hashem added are “Qatari-Turkish relations, Qatari-Iranian relations and Qatar-Iraqi relations.”
“It is clear that Qatar pushed its limits in its foreign policy by allying itself or cooperating with countries that are against the Gulf and Arab countries,” Hashem added. “Qatar has been singing a different tune.”
Doha has been taking positions on developments in Egypt that differ from those of the rest of the Gulf countries, which has pushed it into the Turkish camp that has refused to come to terms with the new regime in Egypt.
Meanwhile, Qatar said differences with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain are to do with matters external to the GCC, adding that it will not recall envoys from those countries.
“We in the Gulf countries are different from other countries,” said Qatari political scientist Ali Shawi, who expressed his “sorrow” for the development.
Speaking to Gulf News, he added “We are one people, and our leaderships, no matter how different their policies and agendas are, they have age-old, traditional relations. This is the first time [something like this] happens, where tensions reach the level of [recalling] ambassadors,” he said.
Analysts noted that Oman usually takes the “neutral” positions in Gulf issues and that is why it did not comment on or joined the trio. However Kuwait, which experts expect will take its time in reacting, is anticipated to play the role of a mediator and be the “bridge” between Qatar and the rest of the Gulf countries, according to Hashem.
“Personally, I think it is too early to comment,” said one prominent Kuwaiti scientist about the his country’s silence.