The gulf of rift is widening between Qatar and Saudi Arabia with each passing day. Saudi accuses Qatar of backing terrorist organizations and funding insurgents and Hamas, which Doha completely denies. Riyadh has cut its ties with Doha. Matters became worse when Bahrain, Kuwait and The UAE also ended their trade and diplomatic relations with Qatar. This blockade of Qatar by its neighboring countries has led to several crises in the country. Doha has plumbed the depths of humanitarian crisis as the country was facing severe food shortage. In this state of affairs, Iran and Turkey seized the opportunity and sent the tons of food to the crisis- ridden country. Moreover, Turkey went extra mile by starting military drills with militarily feeble country in order to cope any imminent danger. This step of Turkey enraged Riyadh. And Saudi led Bloc immediately asked Qatar to close Turkish army base, to shut Al Jazeera, a Doha based News agency, and scale down ties with Iran. But neither side budged. 

Recently, Israel also moved forward to revoke media credentials of Al Jazeera journalists and closed the network’s offices in Jerusalem. This has added another player in the game of Middle Eastern cacophony. It seems Israel was biding its time and has been waiting for the appropriate moment to close Al Jazeera as the Al Jazeera has always remained critical of oppressive policies of Tel Aviv and its occupation of Palestinian land. Al Jazeera’s disinterested and Clinical overview of multifaceted issues of Middle East is repugnant to many Arab monarchies. As it is obvious from the announcement of Ayoub Kara, communication Minister of Israel,” we have based our decision on the move by Sunni Arab States to close the Al Jazeera offices and prohibiting their work”. It stands to reason that Saudi Arabia is in the cahoots with Israel and clandestinely hatching conspiracies against the gas-rich Qatar. 

To conclude, it remains to be seen that what this month long saga meant for Middle East. Maybe it’s a new Thucydides trap as suggested by Graham Alison, political scientist at Belfer Centre Harvard University, “war is inevitable when rising Power challenges and tries to take position of ruling power” 

IZHAR HUSSAIN,  

Rawalpindi, August 12.