A diplomatic Tsunami has hit the Gulf region following the unprecedented move by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen and Egypt to abruptly cut ties with Qatar, placing the country in complete isolation.
For further insight into these developments in the Gulf and the severing of relations with Qatar, Euronews’ Daleen Hassan spoke to the Mr Abdel Bari Atwan, Editor-in-Chief of the al Rai al Youm newspaper.
Daleen Hassan: What are the reasons behind this crisis and why are these countries cutting ties now?
Abdel Bari Atwan:“I think the crisis has been triggered by the growing ties between Qatar and Iran. Qatar is continuing its support for the Muslim Brotherhood. It also has strong relations with Hamas.
There were deals in 2014 that Qatar would cut its relations with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, but Qatar did not stick to these. Now there is an Arab -Islamic alliance, an ‘‘Arab NATO’‘ so to speak, which is stacked against Iran and “sponsored” by Donald Trump. It seems as if Qatar has distanced itself from this new alliance.
Daleen Hassan: “How are you reading the Turkish, Russian and Iranian reactions to this Gulf crisis?”
Abdel Bari Atwan :“I do not think that Turkey will risk any conflict with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and the US over Qatar. Russia is increasingly cosying up to Saudi Arabia, and I also don’t believe Iran would enter into a war to support Qatar. You know Iran didn’t enter into the Syrian war in a direct way, AND Syria is an ally……Do you think Iran will enter a war for Qatar? These countries are telling Qatar indirectly, make some concessions and accept the conditions of Saudi Arabia and the UAE if you want peace.
Daleen hassan: What do you expect in the coming days, and to what extent could the crisis escalate?
Abdel Bari Atwan:“In the next few days, I expect more pressure on Qatar. There is no more trust between Qatar and its regional neighbours. The latest decision is aimed at pilling more pressure on Qatar, so that it will fully commit to the other Gulf countries conditions. Otherwise, these countries “ will move to plan B , which in my view could be military action.