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Qatar needs to make concessions to break isolation amid Gulf crisis: expert

(Xinhua)    11:12, June 07, 2017

Riad Kahwaji, CEO of the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis said on Tuesday that Qatar is in a no-win situation amid the ongoing Gulf crisis and the only way to break its isolation is to make concessions.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic relations with Qatar and blocked access to their land, sea and aerial borders with their fellow Gulf state, accusing it of sponsoring "terrorism."

Yemen, Libya and Maldives also severed their diplomatic ties with Doha.

In an e-mailed statement, Kahwaji said the Arab States-Qatar diplomatic row marks a new Saudi-led era in the region which does not allow Doha to operate in a political "grey zone."

Kahwaji explained that the "grey zone" means that Qatar remains a strong and active member of the Saudi-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council(GCC), a U.S.-led Alliance fighting terrorism, while at the same time advocating policies and positions that contradicted their agendas.

These positions, the expert explained, included praising Iran and underlining its role in the stability of the region, as well as supporting the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have now drawn the line and appear determined to subdue Qatar, he added.

Saudi and the UAE "appear to have gathered strength from the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump," noted Kahwaji. In previous years, "Qatar managed to get away with its policies under the former U.S. Administration of Barrack Obama which had adopted a policy of appeasement with Iran leading to the signing of the Vienna nuclear agreement," the expert said.

Qatar is in a no-win situation amid the ongoing Gulf crisis and the only way forward is to make concessions and agree to most of the Saudi-Emirate terms to survive this crisis, said the expert.

Kahwaji said the current crisis also poses a serious test to the United States, so it "will most likely prefer a covert manner of mediating and pressuring concerned parties to reach a settlement soon."

"A strong leverage in U.S. hands is fate of Al Udeid air force base that Doha regards as an essential component of its national defense policy," he said.

"However, if mediations fail and Qatar decides to be defiant and seeks to counter Saudi actions by enhancing partnerships with players like Iran, Russia and Turkey, then Washington will likely have to reconsider its position and embark on moves that will secure its interests, especially the fate of its bases in Qatar," he said.

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