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Home / Regional / Saudi Allies Have Few Tools to Pressure Qatar Amid GCC Spat (2)

Saudi Allies Have Few Tools to Pressure Qatar Amid GCC Spat (2)

Saudi Arabia’s expostulate to make Qatar
abandon a welcome of a Muslim Brotherhood might founder
because of a singular precedence a Saudis and their allies can
exercise over a world’s richest country.

Qatar traded some-more with Singapore in 2012 than it did with
the 3 Gulf neighbors — Saudi Arabia, a United Arab
Emirates and Bahrain — that withdrew their ambassadors from
Doha final week to criticism a Brotherhood connection. With
markets for a healthy gas in a U.S. and Asia, and a
portfolio of abroad investments that includes stakes in
Volkswagen AG (VOW) and Barclays Plc, Qatar is good placed to resist
the tactful pressure, yet it’s exposed if Saudi Arabia
were to tighten a land border.

“Direct mercantile precedence is of small impact,” pronounced John Sfakianakis, arch investment strategist during MASIC in Saudi
Arabia, in response to e-mailed questions. “Qatar could go it
alone, as prolonged as a universe is in need of gas, and as prolonged as
they don’t get all their neighbors to be their enemies.”

The brawl has highlighted fissures within a Gulf
Coordination Council, whose 6 members reason roughly a third of
the world’s oil pot and horde pivotal American troops bases
including a U.S. Central Command in Qatar. The monarchies
usually take caring to benefaction a joined front, and their rare
public ring over a Brotherhood reflects wider divisions
that embody how to respond to a arise of Arab reformist
movements, and how to regulate ties with adjacent Iran.

‘Hostile Media’

Saudi Arabia and a U.A.E. perspective a Brotherhood as a
threat to their comprehensive monarchies, as a organisation that seeks to
bring domestic Islam to energy around a list box. Qatar backed
the Brotherhood in Egypt when it gained energy in 2012 under
President Mohamed Mursi, and extended $8 billion in aid.

Saudi Arabia and a U.A.E. welcomed Mursi’s overpower by
Egypt’s army final year. Along with Kuwait, they have pledged
about $15 billion to support a new military-backed government.
Meanwhile, a Qatar-based radio channel Al Jazeera
television is still frequently airing programs vicious of the
army takeover and a Gulf countries that upheld it.

Egypt has also pulled a envoy out of Doha, and won’t
restore ties until domestic final are met, Foreign Ministry
spokesman Badr Abdelatty pronounced today, according to a official
Middle East News Agency.

Announcing a withdrawal of their diplomats on Mar 5,
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and a U.A.E. indicted Qatar of unwell to
take movement opposite those who bluster a confidence of GCC
countries, or to respect a oath to refrain from supporting
“hostile media.” Qatar’s benchmark batch index has dropped
more than 2 percent given then.

‘Aggressive Support’

The squabble has led Saudi officials to skip scheduled
bilateral meetings with their Qatari counterparts in Doha last
week, al Hayat journal reported today, citing officials it
didn’t brand by name.

“Qatar has antagonized most of a rest of a GCC with
its poignant and assertive support of a Muslim
Brotherhood,” Paul Sullivan, a Middle East dilettante at
Georgetown University in Washington, said. “Al Jazeera’s
increasingly disastrous tinge on a others in a GCC and on the
new Egyptian care also helped prompt this.”

Qatar is a world’s tip writer of liquefied healthy gas,
and a categorical business are Japan, South Korea and India. Trade
with Saudi Arabia and a U.A.E., a biggest Arab economies,
was value a sum $6.4 billion in 2012, according to data
compiled by Bloomberg, reduction than 5 percent of Qatar’s total.

Qatari banks don’t work in Saudi Arabia, according to
the Saudi executive bank, distinct those from a U.A.E., Bahrain
and Kuwait.

Food Security

One area where a Saudis and Emiratis do have some
leverage is over Qatar’s imports. They could “cause utterly a bit
of nuisance if they wanted to” by choking off a upsurge of
fresh furnish from Saudi Arabia or products shipped around Dubai, said
Salman Shaikh, executive of a Brookings Doha Center, in a phone
interview. The U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia were a second and
third-biggest sources of Qatar’s imports in 2012, after a U.S.

Qatar hired consultants final year to breeze food-supply
contingency skeleton in a eventuality of a intrusion to informal trade
routes, with scenarios including a shutting of a Saudi
border. The pierce wasn’t a response to threats of regional
unrest, Jonathan Smith, conduct of communications during Qatar’s
National Food Security Program, pronounced during a time.

The GCC was combined in 1981. Efforts to negotiate a closer
union, stealing etiquette barriers and environment adult a common
currency, had already stalled by a time a Arab revolts broke
out in 2011.

Oman Resistance

The philharmonic of longstanding Arab regimes being swept away
that year stirred Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to step adult the
pressure for Gulf integration, on a drift it was essential
for a confidence of a monarchies. Qatar, though, isn’t the
only one of a smaller GCC partners to have reservations about
the idea.

Kuwait has traditionally been passive of a Muslim
Brotherhood. Oman, that has rebuffed Saudi skeleton for a unified
GCC, maintains considerate ties with Iran and hosted President
Hassan Rouhani this week. “They have an eccentric foreign
policy,” Sultan Al-Qassemi, a U.A.E. columnist and political
commentator, pronounced in a phone interview. “The Saudis
underestimated their apprehension.”

Qatar, where Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, 33, took
over from his father final year, has followed higher-profile
initiatives and flaunted a autonomy from a Saudis. As
well as ancillary Mursi, it was active in a Libyan and Syrian
wars. And like Oman, it has cultivated ties with Iran, Saudi
Arabia’s categorical informal rival.

Non-Negotiable

Last month, Qatar and Iranian announced skeleton to establish
a giveaway trade zone, as good as a corner domestic cabinet on
regional matters.

Qatar Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah said
this week that a country’s unfamiliar process wasn’t
“negotiable.”

“The initial greeting was defiant,” pronounced Abdulkhaleq
Abdullah, an Emirati educational and author of “The Gulf Regional
System,” in a phone interview. “Qatar is asked to retreat 15
years of policy, of being anti-status quo, of carrying an alliance
with a Brotherhood, of going it alone. To change all that
means that a Qatar we and we know will no longer be there.”

To hit a reporters on this story:
Glen Carey in Riyadh at
gcarey8@bloomberg.net;
Alaa Shahine in Dubai at
asalha@bloomberg.net

To hit a editors obliged for this story:
Andrew J. Barden at
barden@bloomberg.net
Ben Holland, Francis Harris

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