As Egypt, Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries are isolating Qatar, the Qatar diplomatic crisis could give birth to even more extremism and terrorism around the world.
As the Arab world’s biggest powers cut ties with Qatar on Monday over its alleged support for the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen), ISIS (Islamic State) and al-Qaeda, the Qatar diplomatic crisis could potentially complicate the international anti-terrorism measures and spread, even more, terrorism around the world.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries severed diplomatic relations with Qatar, potentially creating a big headache for the U.S. and the rest of the world in the long run. The controversial move comes just two weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the region and his demand for Muslim states to step up efforts to fight extremism and terrorism.
It’s unclear, however, if Trump had anything to do with the Qatari diplomatic crisis, which erupted with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar in a coordinated move early Monday. Hours later, Yemen, Libya’s eastern-based government and the Maldives joined the initiative of turning one of the world’s richest countries into a pariah state.
Qatari crisis could give rise to extremism and terrorism across the world
U.S. and the international community’s anti-terrorism measures are no thin ice, with the Qatari diplomatic crisis likely to give rise to more terrorism and extremism in the region. Qatar – which is populated by about 2.5 million people – has been accused of sponsoring Islamic militants, though the Qatari government has for years dismissed the claims.
The Qatari diplomatic crisis could become a major obstacle for the U.S. in its efforts to eradicate ISIS in the region, as Qatar hosts a major U.S. military base that commands the America-led air campaign against the militant group. While Qatar is an ally of the U.S., the powers cutting ties with Qatar are Washington’s primary Arab allies, which means the diplomatic crisis could deteriorate Qatar-U.S. relations and even potentially cut Washington off its access to its Qatari military base. It also does not bode well for the Qatar-U.S. ties that the Arabic isolation of Qatar comes just two weeks after U.S. President Trump’s milestone visit to the region.
While the Qatari diplomatic crisis came as an abrupt and surprising move to many, Jacob Wolisnky correctly predicted Qatar’s pariah status back in 2013. Since then, cracks in Qatar’s relations with its biggest neighbours have been further deepening over the nation’s alleged ties to the Taliban and Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen).
The US could lose access to its major military base in Qatar, complicating anti-terrorism efforts
In addition to severing diplomatic ties with Qatar, the U.S. primary Arab allies also cut off the land, air and sea links to and from one of the world’s richest countries that are set to host the biggest football event in five years, the World Cup 2022. Closing all transport links to Qatari land, all but Egypt gave Qatari visitors and their residents two weeks to leave the country. Supply shortages have been caused as a result of the diplomatic crisis, causing turmoil across Qatar.
The U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged the Arab nations to sort out their differences in the wake of the Qatari diplomatic crisis, potentially suggesting that the anti-Qatar move was not ordered or even approved by Trump during his high-profile visit to the region in May.
The isolation of Qatar could also push the Arab nation into the hands of Russia, Turkey and Iran. But arguably the biggest headache for the U.S. is the high chance of America’s military forces losing access to its large Qatari military base, complicating U.S.-led operations against Islamic militants in the region. The consequences of that could potentially spawn more terrorism and extremism around the world. And given that the terrorist threat in Europe is already at a critical level, namely the U.K. in the wake of a string of recent terror attacks in Manchester and London, the slightest chance of even more terrorism in the world is quite alarming.
Alarming consequences of Qatari diplomatic crisis
As the Middle East is slowly sinking into a new crisis, in addition to potential complications in the U.S. efforts to fight extremist groups in the region, the Qatar diplomatic crisis could also challenge America’s plans to confront an assertive Iran. As the U.S. is looking to form a united front to challenge Iran, the Qatari diplomatic crisis could actually push Qatar closer to Iran.
The Qatari diplomatic crisis could considerably undermine the operations of the U.S.-led coalition to fight extremist groups in the region, while calls to eradicate militants from the Middle East became one of the highlights of Trump’s speech during the visit to Saudi Arabia last month. That furthermore raises questions about whether or not the Trump administration was aware of one of the most influential Arab nations’ plans to isolate Qatar. After all, the Qatari diplomatic crisis bears several risks, among them a high chance of the U.S. having no access to its Qatari military base – something that could significantly complicate America’s efforts to fight extremists in the region.
Qatar Airways: expensive ticket prices, longer journey time
Besides the possibility of spreading more terrorism and radicalism around the world, there are also other potential consequences of the Qatari diplomatic crisis. Since the Arab nations cut air links to and from Qatar, Qatar Airways – one of the world’s busiest airlines – would no longer be able to fly the U.S. and Europe through Saudi and Egyptian airspace. The consequence of that is longer journey times via plane, inefficient trip routeings, elevated fuel costs and potentially increased plane ticket prices.
On Monday, Saudi Arabia also shut down Al Jazeera’s bureau in the kingdom, which may suggest that Qatar’s state-owned satellite channel – one of the most influential news outlets in the Arab world – could find itself in trouble as well. The Qatari diplomatic crisis will most likely undermine the country’s economy, increase inflation, make it a less attractive country for foreign investments as well as damage Qatar-based businesses’ commercial prospects.