Quick resolution to Qatar crisis unlikely, experts say

Mishaal Al Gergawi said the crisis is part of a pivotal moment for the region that is part of the deeper context for the move against Qatar.

AbuDhabi, 12, July, 2017:  ( L to R )  Mylene Tisserant, Marc Martinez, and Mishaal Al Gergawi  during the talk on the major developments in the region and  the issues of three west asia  and north africa quarterly report at the Delma Institute in Abu Dhabi. ( Satish Kumar /  For the National )
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The desire on the part the quartet of Arab countries isolating Qatar to prove themselves as an emerging regional power makes a quick resolution of the Qatar crisis unlikely, said a prominent Emirati strategic analyst.

Speaking at the launch of the Delma Institute's latest publication, West Asia and North Africa Quarterly, Mishaal Al Gergawi said the crisis was part of a pivotal moment for the region that is part of the deeper context for the move against Qatar.

"People are discovering the new Saudi leadership ... they are learning how to proceed" with crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, Mr Al Gergawi said in Abu Dhabi.

Mr Al Gergawi said: "The world is watching this, Saudi Arabia specifically, and this fledgling arrangement, which if it succeeds can become" a force that is here to stay.

"So if you're able to demonstrate that you have the tenacity and you have the resilience to triumph, that's really important."

So far Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have resisted increasing US pressure to find a quick resolution to the crisis with Qatar, which they accuse of supporting terrorists and destabilising forces – Muslim Brotherhood groups in particular – at a time when the countries are seeking to build a new state-led order out of the turmoil of the past six years.

Another analyst at Delma, Marc Martinez, who researches Iran, addressed questions over Tehran's view of the current split within the GCC, an organisation created in part to contain Iran, which it has never recognised. While Tehran does not want instability on its southern flank and is primarily concerned with reintegrating economically with the world community, "they're watching what's unfolding on the other side of the Gulf and eating popcorn", he said.

Iran has also used the crisis to benefit economically, exporting 1,000 tonnes of food a day to Qatar to make up for the cut-off in imports from Saudi and the UAE.

Qatar Airways also pays US$2,000 (Dh7,350) to Tehran for every flight that transits ­Iranian airspace, which has now become a significant corridor for the carrier, and there are about 200 flights over Iran every day, which equates to about $400,000 in daily revenue, Mr Martinez said.