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Malik Ayub Sumbal

Geopolitical Analyst and Commentator

It has been three years since Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries imposed a land and sea blockade on Qatar. The objective was to isolate Qatar from the rest of the world, but all these efforts failed miserably and Doha became more active than earlier.

During these three years, multiple efforts were made to mediate between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but no fruitful results were witnessed. Mediation efforts on the part of the United States and Kuwait were undermined by Saudi Arabia to end the Gulf Crisis. The allegations leveled on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and Egypt were rejected by the Qatari top leadership.

The major conflict between Qatar and Saudi Arabia led the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) towards the prevailing status of the Gulf Crisis. It is being stated that Doha does not follow every command by Riyadh instinctively. Qatar is an independent country and has the right to make its own decisions and foreign policy according to its interest.

Qatar maintains a very balanced foreign policy towards the US and Iran, and maintaining good relations with Iran will not harm Doha's ties with Washington. However, Saudi Arabia used Iran rhetoric against Qatar in this blockade that exposed the Saudi anti-Iran approach.

Dr. George Dimitropoulus, Associate Professor, College of Law, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, stated, "Post-war international legal order has created a variety of institutions for the resolution of disputes among nations. There are the traditional ways of resolving disputes among states, as well as a multiplicity of international courts and tribunals, each operating within their own specialized regime. A state can select an international court or tribunal to bring forward its case. As the blockade evolved, the State of Qatar chose a strategy of filing multiple claims before various international courts and tribunals. This is the right way to approach the resolution of this crisis based on the international rule of law."


It has been three years since Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries imposed a land and sea blockade on Qatar. The objective was to isolate Qatar from the rest of the world, but all these efforts failed miserably and Doha became more active than earlier.

During these three years, multiple efforts were made to mediate between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but no fruitful results were witnessed. Mediation efforts on the part of the United States and Kuwait were undermined by Saudi Arabia to end the Gulf Crisis. The allegations leveled on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and Egypt were rejected by the Qatari top leadership.

The major conflict between Qatar and Saudi Arabia led the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) towards the prevailing status of the Gulf Crisis. It is being stated that Doha does not follow every command by Riyadh instinctively. Qatar is an independent country and has the right to make its own decisions and foreign policy according to its interest.

Qatar maintains a very balanced foreign policy towards the US and Iran, and maintaining good relations with Iran will not harm Doha's ties with Washington. However, Saudi Arabia used Iran rhetoric against Qatar in this blockade that exposed the Saudi anti-Iran approach.

Saudi Arabia has a very strong hold on GCC countries, and Saudi Arabia is feared by Qatar due to its economic boom, since Doha is moving towards becoming a more dependent and global hub of international activities and events.

Nevertheless, during this blockade period, Saudi Arabia faced a very cold response from its major allies, and Qatar has been strongly supported by the United States and some other countries that made Saudi leadership a bit desperate towards insolating Qatar.

Saudi leadership has never expected such kind of Qatari backing from the international community, especially Turkey, which immediately filled this vacuum and came very close with Qatar during the Gulf Crisis.

Saudi Arabia also failed to worsen relations between the USA and Qatar, which is one of the major setbacks for Mohammad bin Salman. Over the past three years, Saudi Arabia has been facing numerous challenges that are leveraging Qatar, one after another.

Qatar has been becoming an international hub increasingly and improving its reputation in comparison with Saudi Arabia. During the three years of the blockade, Qatar's leadership response was responsible and the country was always open for dialogue. Thus, Qatar has almost won the moral and ethical battle on this front.

On Friday, the third anniversary of Qatar-blockade, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani tweeted and stressed the strong unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to protect the peoples and to combat challenges together despite the divide halting such cooperation. He also gestured to open new initiatives for dialogue to end this crisis.

Saudi Arabia might be interested in ending this blockade, but the egotistical mindset of crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman is being anticipated as a possible major hindrance towards the end of this blockage.

Dr. Steven Wright, Associate Professor and Associate Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, underlined that the illegal blockade of Qatar remains, to this day, one of the darkest episodes in the history of the region. It has divided families, imposed restrictions on the freedom of movement of peoples and uprooted students from their degree programs. All of this has been perpetuated by a hostile media campaign that rests on disinformation. With thousands of human rights violations documented, each case is a tragedy, and it has affected citizens and expatriates both in Qatar and the countries that are taking these illegal actions.

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown across the globe, all major economies of the world have taken a hit. The Coronavirus pandemic is going to shade Gulf countries with geopolitical, ethnic, and sectarian battle lines, as well as cause an economic breakdown following the manipulations of oil prices. The situation emerging out of the Coronavirus crisis is going to change the landscape of world politics and subsequent economic ties.

Dr. George Dimitropoulus, Associate Professor, College of Law, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, stated, "Post-war international legal order has created a variety of institutions for the resolution of disputes among nations. There are the traditional ways of resolving disputes among states, as well as a multiplicity of international courts and tribunals, each operating within their own specialized regime. A state can select an international court or tribunal to bring forward its case. As the blockade evolved, the State of Qatar chose a strategy of filing multiple claims before various international courts and tribunals. This is the right way to approach the resolution of this crisis based on the international rule of law."

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