May a new Arab civil war occur in Middle East due to Qatar crise?


The danger bells are ringing for Middle East especially for Arab region because of Qatar crise.

Makram Rabah, a lecturer at the American University of Beirut's history department, wrote an column on Qatar crise. You can read details about international dispute in 'A new Arab civil war' titled article below.

Throughout their primordial and somewhat mystical past, the Arabs, who boast of their shared lineage and fraternal bonds, have fought the bitterest of battles so far. The most notorious of these was the war of Dahis and Ghabra, in which a simple horse race spawned four decades of war between two of the leading tribes in pre-Islamic Arabia.

Earlier this week, under ostensibly different circumstances, an open conflict, which will perhaps be more enduring, erupted between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt on one side and Qatar on the other, in which the former group of Arab nations openly branded Qatar as their enemy for allegedly sponsoring terrorism and for meddling in their internal affairs.

While it is no secret that Qatar and the rest of its Arab neighbors have always butted heads, this Arab "Cold War" has spilled out with an all-out set of economic and financial sanctions aiming to isolate and break the resolve of this small gas-producing emirate and to bring it in line with what these nations claim to be the wider Arab consensus.

The repercussions of this brotherly fallout which came shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia and the ensuing Riyadh Summit is still too early to measure, but the economic and political damage across the fences certainly does not bode well for all sides involved.

Be that as it may, the punitive measures against Qatar will soon be clearly felt in the region as Saudi Arabia and its allies are adamant to curtail Iran's role -- a task which they have thus far failed to achieve.

In this respect, the Syrian crisis will be particularly interesting to monitor as the Qatari quarantine has brought Egypt back into the fold after it decided to blatantly support Bashar al-Assad, who it saw as a strategic ally in its common fight against Islamic extremist groups, such as Al-Nusra in Syria and the Muslim Brotherhood, both in Egypt and abroad.

Most of the allegations against Qatar include accusations regarding its support for Sunni extremist groups, as well as its collaboration with and financial support for Hezbollah and the Iraqi People's Mobilization Forces, otherwise known as the Hashd al-Shaabi.

Consequently, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi can no longer use Qatar as a pretext for his support of the ruthless Assad regime.

Over the past few years, Egypt has dragged its feet as it refused to join Saudi Arabia in its open confrontation with Iran because of the presence of Qatar, the main supporter of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. At present, however, Egypt will have to join the coalition set up by Saudi Arabia to root out terrorism, which includes the terrorism they think emanates from Iran.

This should also materialize with robust Egyptian participation in any future military action -- be it in Yemen against the Houthis or wherever needed in Syria or elsewhere.

What could also be more damaging to Iran and its local allies than assuming that this Qatar-Gulf schism could be their chance to reinforce their presence or to expand into new terrain. This slippery slope might further disappoint Iran, having already been reminded with Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia that the days of the Persian-friendly Obama administration are long gone.

Moreover, while in the past Qatar might have had no reservations about keeping a back channel with Iran, this relationship is no longer acceptable by Qatar's Arab neighbors, nor by Trump, who has clearly chosen sides and doubled down on Saudi Arabia.

Despite the calamity of the situation, Qatar has remained somewhat composed in its response to the crippling sanctions imposed on it. And while its media outlets have been actively attacking Saudi Arabia and its allies over their move, the Qatari leadership has accepted an offer by the Kuwaiti emir for mediation.

This acceptance might perhaps be indicative of the fact that Qatar might want to avoid any further escalations and to come in from the cold. More than that, it might also be a signal for Iran and its agents to brace for the confrontation ahead -- one which Qatar will certainly stay out of. Qatar will refrain from any disruptive gesture that might evoke more retribution from the Gulf states.

Ultimately, this standoff might peter out or turn into an enduring confrontation with endless possibilities. But whatever the result, Iran should perhaps be warned that if this is what these Arab states are willing to do to their brother, how far would they go to hurt an enemy?

This is something time will tell us.

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