Saudi-Qatar Crisis: Diplomatic Solution Needed

By Scott Morgan

One of the most surprising rows in recent diplomatic history has to be the crisis between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The way that the crisis exploded onto the scene and has escalated caught people by surprise.

So why was the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia compelled to take such action? It appears that there are two possible answers to this pertinent question. First of all, it appears that Yemen is a possible motive for this action. At one point there were a thousand Qatari Troops that actively took part in the Saudi Intervention back in 2015. The Qatari contingent has scaled back its presence in the operations that still continue. This has greatly angered Riyadh. But would the Saudis seek revenge for it?

The main catalyst of this crisis - if one reads the financial pages - is a ransom payment. Earlier this year a hunting party, comprised of members of the Qatari royal family, was kidnapped in Southern Iraq, and later on let go. The financial news outlets reported that the amount of 1 billion USD is the amount paid to acquire the release of these people. It will make one’s head spin trying to determine the length of time of operations conducted against western and other interests this action may actually fund.

Another twist of irony that reportedly upset the Saudis: Qatar used their influence along with Ethiopia to lobby the outgoing Obama Administration to lift sanctions against Sudan as well.

To escalate this crisis the Saudis have compiled a list of persons and entities, mostly Qatari, whom they accused of sponsoring terrorism. One question that deserves to be asked: are any of these names appearing on other lists in countries such as the United States? If there is some sort of overlap then the Saudis, who have been working very diligently trying to promote their efforts and improved results in counterterrorism, may have hit a homerun. They are adept at playing the long game as well.

Which brings us to the diplomatic moves made by some African States. Nations such as Senegal, Gabon and Egypt were quick to join the moves that came from Riyadh. One of the most interesting severing of relations came from Mauritania. At one point this country was part of Iran’s working group at the United Nations working to keep Bashar Assad in power while maintaining close military ties with the United States. Gabon issued a statement highlighting its disappointment with Qatar over this recent course of action.

Decisions of this magnitude often result in decisions that yield a wide ranging impact that affects more than those making these snap judgements. There is one decision made that affects the border issues between Djibouti (a country with close ties to France and the US) and Eritrea - which has been called Africa’s North Korea. There were a thousand Qatari troops along the border acting as a buffer force. Since this crisis has erupted Doha has seen fit to recall its troops allocated to this mission. There are now reports that Eritrean units have moved into the area vacated by the removal of the Qatari forces.

This means that a situation that seems to be comical, and almost a farce driven by ego, could turn hot if not solved diplomatically. Once again proving the point that politics is indeed a contact sport.

[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society]


  1. I like this crisis. Whoever caused the rift among the Arab states should get a prize cause it's well planned. Qatar is a terror sponsor state but Saudi Arabia is no less, so what makes us choose one devil over the other?


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