Jan 20, 2021
JERUSALEM WEATHER

It was announced on Tuesday that the Gulf Arab states Qatar and Saudi Arabia agreed to normalize relations after severing ties three years ago over accusations of ties between Qatar and radical Islamist groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey, and Iran. The diplomatic rift in 2017 was led by Saudi Arabia but also led to a break between Qatar and the other Gulf Cooperation Countries including Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman. Though not a member of the GCC, Egypt also took part in the embargo against Qatar which is a member of the GCC. The announcement came one day before a meeting of the GCC. 

Another Trump-Brokered Peace

A senior US administration official told CNN on Monday that President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, helped negotiate the reopening between the two countries and was also expected at Tuesday’s summit to attend a ceremony marking the achievement. It is generally believed that the appeasement came in preparation for a Biden administration. Biden has stated that he intends to reinstate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal which other countries in the region see as strengthening the non-Arab radical Islamic regime in Iran. 

Some of the conditions for appeasement is the removal of a Turkish garrison from Qatar and closing of the Qatar-funded Al Jazeera media network. The agreement included the opening of airspace and maritime borders. Qatar is the smallest Gulf state but is the richest per capita. It also hosts the largest US military base in the region.

The announcement came after a meeting between  Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

“What happened today is… the turning of the page on all points of difference and a full return of diplomatic relations,” Saudi Prince Faisal bin Farhan told a press conference at the conclusion of a landmark regional summit in Saudi Arabia.

“During the meeting, they reviewed bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries and ways of consolidating the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) joint action,” the official Saudi Press Agency said.