qatar foreign minister Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Qatar’s Wait-And-See Strategy

The severing of diplomatic ties between powerful Gulf Arab states and Qatar has complicated Western efforts to combat ISIS and stabilize the Middle East. But two factors – Qatar’s natural gas wealth, and its complicated relationship with the Trump administration – suggest that the current spat will not be easily resolved.

DOHA – When Gulf Arab powers announced on June 5 that they were severing diplomatic ties with Qatar over its ties to terrorists, the message was clear: get in line with regional policies, or pay the price. Nearly a week later, Qatar appears in no hurry to comply. And it is the incoherence of US President Donald Trump’s foreign policy that is perpetuating the rift.

Tainting Qatar as a regional pariah is unlikely to change its calculus, for two reasons. For starters, the country is simply too wealthy to be pushed around easily. Qatar’s abundant supply of natural gas translates into the highest per capita income in the world. Even with trade and travel bans imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt, Qatar’s economy will not suffer significantly.

The second reason why Qatar can afford to wait out its neighbors is its strategic importance to the United States. By hosting the al-Udeid Air Base, which serves as America’s forward operating base in its fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), Qatar has shrewdly balanced its ties to Islamist extremists with a strong relationship to the US.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/8wyZhMp;

Handpicked to read next

  1. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

    Angela Merkel’s Endgame?

    The collapse of coalition negotiations has left German Chancellor Angela Merkel facing a stark choice between forming a minority government or calling for a new election. But would a minority government necessarily be as bad as Germans have traditionally thought?

  2. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.

  3. A GrabBike rider uses his mobile phone Bay Ismoyo/Getty Images

    The Platform Economy

    While developed countries in Europe, North America, and Asia are rapidly aging, emerging economies are predominantly youthful. Nigerian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese young people will shape global work trends at an increasingly rapid pace, bringing to bear their experience in dynamic informal markets on a tech-enabled gig economy.

  4. Trump Mario Tama/Getty Images

    Profiles in Discouragement

    One day, the United States will turn the page on Donald Trump. But, as Americans prepare to observe their Thanksgiving holiday, they should reflect that their country's culture and global standing will never recover fully from the wounds that his presidency is inflicting on them.

  5. Mugabe kisses Grace JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

    How Women Shape Coups

    In Zimbabwe, as in all coups, much behind-the-scenes plotting continues to take place in the aftermath of the military's overthrow of President Robert Mugabe. But who the eventual winners and losers are may depend, among other things, on the gender of the plotters.

  6. Oil barrels Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty Images

    The Abnormality of Oil

    At the 2017 Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, the consensus among industry executives was that oil prices will still be around $60 per barrel in November 2018. But there is evidence to suggest that the uptick in global growth and developments in Saudi Arabia will push the price as high as $80 in the meantime.

  7. Israeli soldier Menahem Kahana/Getty Images

    The Saudi Prince’s Dangerous War Games

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is working hard to consolidate power and establish his country as the Middle East’s only hegemon. But his efforts – which include an attempt to trigger a war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon – increasingly look like the work of an immature gambler.