Shortly after imposing a naval blockade in the immediate aftermath of the Qatar diplomatic crisis, one which left the small Gulf nation not only politically isolated and with severed ties to its neighbors but potentially locked out of maritime trade and crippling its oil and LNG exports, on Tuesday SkyNews Arabia reported that Saudi Arabia has given Qatar a 24 hours ultimatum, starting tonight, to fulfill 10 conditions that have been conveyed to Kuwait, which is currently involved in the role of a mediator between Saudi and Qatar.
— Reza H. Akbari (@rezahakbari) June 6, 2017
— سكاي نيوز عربية-الآن (@SkyNewsArabia_B) June 6, 2017
According to media report, among the key demands by Saudi Arabia is that Qatar end all ties Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
— Dipatch2016 (@Daily_News_Wire) June 6, 2017
While there was little additional information on the Ultimatum and more importantly what happens should Qatar not comply, Al Jazeera reported that Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, left Saudi Arabia on Tuesday after holding mediation talks with the Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz to try to defuse an escalating crisis between Arab countries and Qatar. No details were given on the talks.
In addition to Saudi Arabia’s aggressive approach, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry accused Qatar of taking an “antagonist approach” towards Cairo and said “all attempts to stop it from supporting terrorist groups failed”. Qatar denied the allegations, with a Foreign Ministry statement describing them as “baseless” on Monday.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, analyst Giorgio Cafiero of Gulf State Analytics, a geopolitical risk consultancy based in Washington, DC, said: “I think the Kuwaitis as well as Omanis … fear the prospects of these tensions escalating in ways which could undermine the interest of all six members of the GCC.
“There are many analysts who believe that a potential break-up of the GCC has to be considered right now.”
“If these countries fail to resolve their issues and such tensions reaches new heights, we have to be very open to the possibility of these six Arab countries no longer being able to unite under the banner of one council,” said Cafiero.
He added that if tension escalates, some have warned of a “military confrontation”.
* * *
According to Edroos, the demands are:
- Immediate severance of diplomatic relations with Iran,
- Expulsion of all members of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas from Qatar,
- Freezing all bank accounts of Hamas members and refraining from any deal with them,
- Expulsion of all Muslim Brotherhood members from Qatar,
- Expulsion of anti-[P]GCC elements,
- Ending support for ‘terrorist organisations’,
- Stopping interference in Egyptian affairs,
- Ceasing the broadcast of the Al Jazeera news channel,
- Apologising to all [Persian] Gulf governments for ‘abuses’ by Al Jazeera,
- Pledging that it (Qatar) will not carry out any actions that contradict the policies of the [P]GCC and adhering to its charter.