An Impasse

The confirmation of the Qatar government receiving a list of thirteen demands from the Saudi-led blockade against it would give hope to some that this conflict might soon be resolved. But a closer look at the demands made by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE reveal that this is hardly the case – the extensive list asks for much that Qatar will not be willing to give, and some that it cannot possibly grant on its own.

Shutting down the Turkish military base is not possible due to contractual obligations, forgoing a mutually beneficial relationship with Iran goes against its self-interests and forcing Qatar to shut down Al-Jazeera, an independent news outlet is well beyond Saudi Arabia’s jurisdiction. Quantifying the degree of Qatar’s “interference” in foreign and domestic policies of the four countries is also virtually impossible, with the quagmire the Gulf and Middle East nations have created amongst themselves as a result of infighting and fomenting terrorism and secular conflict in the region. Qatar is not the only one to blame for this, nor does it share the largest portion of this blame, considering the Saudi government’s consistent power plays to gain more influence as a result of the conflict. The last major demand of the thirteen – stopping support of extremist outfits, is also something Qatar will not do until the others do so as well.

Saudi Arabia’s gamble is already doing considerable damage to Qatar’s economy. The blockade has dropped its credit rating and caused investors to pull their money out of the country. The Qatar government has still shown defiance however, and its allies are tightening their belts; Turkey has added numbers to the contentious military base in Qatar. There seems to be no quick outcome of this stalemate, Saudi Arabia’s ambitious attempt at coercion might not be possible to implement in the short run – with engagements in Yemen and beyond, the country might soon be forced to reconsider its position against Qatar. However, this is nothing more than a classic siege, and losing money at this rate might force Qatar to seek some compromise.

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