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Is This The Beginning Of The End Of GCC?

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Qatar is under siege since June last year imposed by the four Arab states. The Saudi-led bloc accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism, a claim which is denied by Qatar.

In spite of extreme against Qatar, Doha has managed to find its way and stand the test of times. The initial shocks have gone and Qatar is embarking on its new journey with ease, contrary to what many believed.

Theodore Karasik, a senior advisor at Gulf State Analytics in Washington DC and prominent expert on Gulf issues, last year suggested that despite its wealth, Qatar would have to eventually comply with the demands being made of it.

He was convinced that “the situation for Qatar and its poor judgment can only be corrected if Doha capitulates on every aspect of their guilt”.

However, instead of succumbing to the pressure, Qatar has done exactly the opposite and has consolidated its relationship with Iran, Saudi’s arch rival.

Christopher Davidson, an associate professor in Middle East politics at Durham University, believes an alliance with Turkey is certainly possible – and perhaps already a reality – as the two countries share not only ideological visions but also foreign policy objectives in the region – especially with regard to Syria and the containment of Saudi Arabia. An alliance with Iran remains unlikely, as Doha will be well aware that historic promises of Iranian support to other Gulf states – especially Oman – have rarely materialised.

So, does this mean the end of GCC? The Saudi led bloc has clearly failed to achieve desired results. If GCC loses its way then it would play into the hands of Iran which would emerge stronger.

Though, the formal end of GCC is still not an option, the actual power of the organisation will be questioned.

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, in an expert comment piece for the Chatham House, questioned the utility of an organisation that appears hopelessly split and powerless to restrain its members, while asking whether the GCC is worth belonging to. This becomes apparent as three members of the GCC have turned on a fourth, while the secretary-general has remained silent. The same can be attributed to appeals aimed at Qatar to change its course, which were also launched from the states and not through the secretariat.

The anti-Qatar measures have put Doha’s future in the GCC in the dark. In fact UAE has openly stated for the removal of Qatar from the organisation and backed for a “new set of alliances”, Bahrain has suggested that the Gulf bloc suspend Doha’s membership until it capitulates to the demands of the blockading nations

Davidson seriously doubts Doha will ever formally leave the GCC, but rather it will become an unwritten reality that it has left. That doesn’t mean, of course, that Saudi Arabia and the UAE – as the dominant powers in the GCC – won’t take further steps themselves and publicly delete Qatar from the council. The longer the dispute drags on, the greater are the chances Qatar will chose a separate path and, de facto, leave the group.

A GCC without Qatar would definitely be a big blow to the group, especially if Qatar joins hands with Iran. Sensing the danger, US has been trying to mediate the two disputing parties along with Kuwait, but nothing seems to have paid off so far.

According to diplomatic sources, the announcement of a US-GCC summit at Camp David, scheduled for May, is the last chance to save the GCC. However, Donald Trump warned that the planned will not take place if Saudi Arabia and its allies do not take steps to resolve the Qatar blockade.

Qatar is under siege since June last year imposed by the four Arab states. The Saudi-led bloc accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism, a claim which is denied by Qatar.

In spite of extreme against Qatar, Doha has managed to find its way and stand the test of times. The initial shocks have gone and Qatar is embarking on its new journey with ease, contrary to what many believed.

Theodore Karasik, a senior advisor at Gulf State Analytics in Washington DC and prominent expert on Gulf issues, last year suggested that despite its wealth, Qatar would have to eventually comply with the demands being made of it.

He was convinced that “the situation for Qatar and its poor judgment can only be corrected if Doha capitulates on every aspect of their guilt”.

However, instead of succumbing to the pressure, Qatar has done exactly the opposite and has consolidated its relationship with Iran, Saudi’s arch rival.

Christopher Davidson, an associate professor in Middle East politics at Durham University, believes an alliance with Turkey is certainly possible – and perhaps already a reality – as the two countries share not only ideological visions but also foreign policy objectives in the region – especially with regard to Syria and the containment of Saudi Arabia. An alliance with Iran remains unlikely, as Doha will be well aware that historic promises of Iranian support to other Gulf states – especially Oman – have rarely materialised.

So, does this mean the end of GCC? The Saudi led bloc has clearly failed to achieve desired results. If GCC loses its way then it would play into the hands of Iran which would emerge stronger.

Though, the formal end of GCC is still not an option, the actual power of the organisation will be questioned.

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, in an expert comment piece for the Chatham House, questioned the utility of an organisation that appears hopelessly split and powerless to restrain its members, while asking whether the GCC is worth belonging to. This becomes apparent as three members of the GCC have turned on a fourth, while the secretary-general has remained silent. The same can be attributed to appeals aimed at Qatar to change its course, which were also launched from the states and not through the secretariat.

The anti-Qatar measures have put Doha’s future in the GCC in the dark. In fact UAE has openly stated for the removal of Qatar from the organisation and backed for a “new set of alliances”, Bahrain has suggested that the Gulf bloc suspend Doha’s membership until it capitulates to the demands of the blockading nations

Davidson seriously doubts Doha will ever formally leave the GCC, but rather it will become an unwritten reality that it has left. That doesn’t mean, of course, that Saudi Arabia and the UAE – as the dominant powers in the GCC – won’t take further steps themselves and publicly delete Qatar from the council. The longer the dispute drags on, the greater are the chances Qatar will chose a separate path and, de facto, leave the group.

A GCC without Qatar would definitely be a big blow to the group, especially if Qatar joins hands with Iran. Sensing the danger, US has been trying to mediate the two disputing parties along with Kuwait, but nothing seems to have paid off so far.

According to diplomatic sources, the announcement of a US-GCC summit at Camp David, scheduled for May, is the last chance to save the GCC. However, Donald Trump warned that the planned will not take place if Saudi Arabia and its allies do not take steps to resolve the Qatar blockade.

source

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