-
Advertorial
-
FOCUS
-
Guide
-
Lifestyle
-
Tech and Vogue
-
TechandScience
-
CHTF Special
-
Nanhan
-
Futian Today
-
Hit Bravo
-
Special Report
-
Junior Journalist Program
-
World Economy
-
Opinion
-
Diversions
-
Hotels
-
Movies
-
People
-
Person of the week
-
Weekend
-
Photo Highlights
-
Currency Focus
-
Kaleidoscope
-
Tech and Science
-
News Picks
-
Yes Teens
-
Fun
-
Budding Writers
-
Campus
-
Glamour
-
News
-
Digital Paper
-
Food drink
-
Majors_Forum
-
Speak Shenzhen
-
Business_Markets
-
Shopping
-
Travel
-
Restaurants
-
Hotels
-
Investment
-
Yearend Review
-
In depth
-
Leisure Highlights
-
Sports
-
World
-
QINGDAO TODAY
-
Entertainment
-
Business
-
Markets
-
Culture
-
China
-
Shenzhen
-
Important news
在线翻译:
szdaily -> Opinion
No gulf insurmountable for Gulf neighbors
    2017-June-19  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Winton Dong

dht0620@126.com

SAUDI ARABIA and allied countries including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, the internationally recognized government of Yemen, Libya and the Maldives announced on June 5 that they cut diplomatic relations and closed sea, land and air links with Qatar.

The West African nation of Mauritania, a member of the Arab League, followed suit on June 6 to sever ties with Qatar. OPEC member Gabon also condemned Doha in order to be in line with its Saudi allies.

Qatar has been isolated and accused of harboring extremist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, destabilizing the whole region, financing “groups” linked to Iran and interfering in other countries’ internal affairs. The Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in 1928, has been outlawed in Egypt, and is labeled as a terrorist organization by Russia and many Arabic countries.

Qatar reacted with fury. The country rejected these accusations as “unjustified and based on false and baseless claims.” As a small country relying heavily on imports, sudden isolation has forced Qatar to hold talks with Turkey, Iran and other countries who have shown sympathy to it in order to secure food and water supplies.

Energy-rich Qatar has long had tense relations with its neighbors. However, the sudden move by Saudi Arabia and its fellow Gulf Arab states to cut ties is still sending shockwaves around the whole world.

China expressed hopes that the countries involved will solve the dispute through dialogue and consultation, maintain unity and promote regional peace and stability. The Kremlin also said that it is in Russia’s interest to have a “stable and peaceful” situation in the Gulf Region.

Iran is also deeply involved in the regional confrontation. On June 7, a pair of stunning Islamic State-claimed attacks on Iran’s parliament and the mausoleum of its revolutionary leader Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini killed 16 people and wounded more than 40. The bloodshed shocked Iran and came as Sunni Arab states backed by the United States are hardening their stances against Iran, a country which is Shiite ruled.

After the attacks, the White House released a statement by U.S. President Donald Trump implying that Iran is itself a sponsor of terrorism. “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote,” the statement said. The comment sparked outrage from Iranians and many of whom called it “repugnant.” Media in Iran stopped short of alleging direct Saudi involvement but said that the attacks followed Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, where he strongly asserted Washington’s support for Riyadh.

Since regional tension has so far showed no sign of immediate alleviation, major EU nations also aired their views in the hope of defusing the crisis. French President Emmanuel Macron called for unity among Gulf states, saying he was ready to back all initiatives to encourage calm.

The tone of Germany was more accusing and it pointed its fingers directly at the United States. “U.S. President Trump’s recent giant military contracts with Saudi Arabia raise the risk of a new spiral in arms sales,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned when being interviewed by the Handelsblatt Daily recently. “Such a policy to escalate conflict in the region is completely wrong and is certainly not Germany’s policy,” he said.

During his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, Trump signed arms sales contracts worth US$110 billion with the Gulf country, including seven THAAD systems, remote sensing satellites, destroyers and other military command facilities. Moreover, according to a Wall Street Journal report on June 15, the United States had also reached an agreement with Qatar to sell US$12 billion worth of military equipment including Boeing fighter jets to the latter. Such irresponsible moves will further escalate arm races and tense situations in the region.

Hearing that Qatar was being isolated by other Arab countries, Trump tweeted that his recent trip to the Middle East was paying off, as “I have stated that there can no longer be funding of radical ideology.” President Trump’s words have made the U.S. Government, to some extent, embarrassed. Actually, Qatar is also the host of more than 8,000 U.S. military personnel at al-Udeid, the largest U.S. air base in the Middle East, which is crucial to the U.S.-led strikes on Islamic State.

There is no gulf insurmountable for the Gulf neighbors. Toxic conflicts among countries in the region will not only do harm to Qatar and its citizens, but also destabilize the Middle East and hurt Western interest there as a whole. From 2003 to 2011, U.S.-led forces kicked off a war against Iraq under the false accusation of Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction. What’s the role of the United States in the Gulf crisis this time? Is it a peacemaker or a troublemaker? As German Foreign Minister Gabriel said, such a “trumpification” of relations in the region already susceptible to crisis is particularly dangerous.

(The author is the editor-in-chief of the Shenzhen Daily with a Ph.D. from the Journalism and Communication School of Wuhan University.)

 

深圳报业集团版权所有, 未经授权禁止复制; Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.
Shenzhen Daily E-mail:szdaily@szszd.com.cn