The decision of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to withdraw their ambassadors from Qatar appears to signal the unfolding of a new political deadlock in the Gulf.

The four countries are part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), but Wednesday’s move showed a gap between theory and practice in Gulf politics.

The trio’s statement: Worth checking

We have decided to take measures to protect our security and stability, and safeguard the interests of the GCC states, including neighbouring Qatar, the trio said in a statement.

Qatar’s alleged intervention in the domestic affairs of other states and threats to the security of GCC members were also cited by the signatories as a reason for their action.

Although previously unseen since the six-nation GCC was established in 1981, the crisis has roots that involve issues other than breaches of national sovereignty.

According to the same statement, Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani has failed to comply and put a security agreement into effect.

Finalised last year by the GCC, the agreement focuses on cooperation in the exchange of information and the tracking down of criminals.

Hasan Tariq Al-Hasan, a Bahrain-based political analyst, said the trio’s reference to the agreement, signed by the six GCC countries, indicates a fundamental disagreement with Qatar over its refusal to “toe the party line.”

Al-Hasan said such a line is drawn by Saudi Arabia and to a lesser extent by the UAE, especially in terms of Doha’s relations with “regional non-state actors.”

The UAE and Bahrain claim Qatar’s foreign policy has a “destabilising impact” on their internal security, he noted.

On its side, Qatar has not remained silent. The small island state expressed regret at the ambassadors’ withdrawal, but said it would not take reciprocal action.

It expressed keenness on maintaining “brotherly links” with all Gulf states, and claimed the differences entail “issues outside the GCC.”… see more

source: ahram online