Saudi Arabia and Qatar are nearing a preliminary deal to end a rift that’s dragged on for more than three years, prodded by a Trump administration seeking foreign policy wins during its waning days in the White House, three people with knowledge of the talks told Bloomberg.
Commenting earlier on the potential deal, Financial Times said “Saudi Arabia seeks to resolve Qatar crisis as ‘gift’ to Joe Biden”.
Aljazeera commented that Jared Kushner “seeks final triumphs in policy defined by Israeli interests”.
When asked to comment on the development, a Pakistani defense official based in one of the most important capitals in the Middle East, tells DesPardes that “Few important points to ponder upon: 1) Why Saudis and Qataris would be ready to add another feather in outgoing Trump’s hat? 2) Qatar may be ready to normalize relations with Israel, if US Administration helps it getting Saudi-led blockade completely or partially eased in return. 3) What Saudis would get in return? 4) Would Qatar be ready to support US, KSA and Israel in their Military action against Iran? 5) Would Qatar be ready to remove Turkish military from its soil? 6) Qatar has recently signed agreements with Turkey and Iran. 7) Out of 13 demands from Saudi-led group, how many demands Qatar is ready to accept?
According to a Saudi female academic, “It’s truly sad that a daft like Kushner with little or no experience in the Middle East act as a broker. Instead of an Arab mediator we turn to such people. Kushner is doing this to ensure post-Trump business deals”. “There is anger among many Saudis but due to obvious reasons they cannot express their feelings. We need to end this rift and we could have used wise men from our midst” she added.
The deal, says an analyst, follows a “reassessment”…”the real threat to Saudi security came not from Doha but from other actors in the region, Kristian Ulrichsen, Middle East fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy told Bloomberg.
The tentative agreement does not involve the three other Arab countries that also severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar in June 2017 — the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. A fourth person said a broader realignment remained a long way off as the underlying issues, such as Doha’s relations with Tehran, remained unresolved.
The potential breakthrough follows months of intense diplomacy mediated by Kuwait, which reached fruition with a final push from President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East envoy Jared Kushner, who visited the Gulf this week.
The rapprochement is likely to include reopening air space and land borders, an end to the information war Qatar and Saudi Arabia have waged and other confidence-building steps as part of a detailed plan to gradually rebuild relations, two of the people said, according to Bloomberg.