US President Donald Trump has offered to mediate talks in the dispute between Qatar and the Saudi-led bloc of nations.
The impasse in West Asia is one of the worst diplomatic crises the region has seen in the recent years.
In June 2017, a Saudi Arabia-led bloc of nations in Gulf cut all diplomatic ties with Qatar. Qatar has remained isolated with the blockage of its air, sea, and land links. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt alleged that Qatar sponsored terrorism in the region – a charge that Qatar has denied.
A stalemate has now existed in West Asia between a bloc led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson visited the region and yet there have been no signs of progress. In the midst, Qatar signaled that the nation would be open for dialogue. The Saudi Arabian bloc of nations have released six principles for Qatar to abide by for the impasse to end, but Qatar has not responded. Qatar has also filed a wide-ranging legal complaint at the World Trade Organization on Monday to challenge the trade boycott and is seeking remuneration.
Currently Kuwait has taken the responsibility of mediating the efforts seeking dialogue between the nations. Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait is on a state visit to the US.
During a joint press conference US President Donald Trump said that the current impasse was an issue that can be solved “fairly easily.” He also said that if required, he was willing to step in and mediate a solution for the crisis. He noted, “I think it's something that's going to get solved fairly easily. We call on our GCC and Egyptian allies to focus on our commitments at that Saudi Arabia summit to continue our joint efforts to drive out and defeat terrorists. Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt are all essential US partners in this effort. We have great relationships with all of them right now, maybe better than we've ever had. We will be most successful with a united GCC.”
There is little indication of thawing relationships between Qatar and Saudi-led bloc of nations. Recently, the annual Hajj pilgrimage was cancelled for Qatari citizens and residents. Qatar alleged that it did not receive any cooperation from Saudi Arabia regarding the security measures that will be employed to safeguard pilgrims from Qatar.
Our assessment is that peace in West Asia is in US’ best interests. As the crisis continues to grow, Iran is acquiring more influence in the region and it’s not something that will be welcomed by the US government. However, if Trump is unable to broker a solution in the region, then his standing in the global politics will falter.