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A year since Qatar crisis: How things stand today?

By Shubham
|

On June 5 last year, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Yemen besides the Maldives cut off their ties with Qatar on charges of backing terrorism and the regional 'headache' Iran. Three Gulf nations decided to shut transport ties with Qatar and also asked visitors from it and its residents to leave their shores. Qatar was also expelled from the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

Qatars Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. PTI file photo

Qatar Airways flights were barred from using the airspace of the boycotting countries, shutting down Qatar's sole land border with Saudi Arabia and disallowing its ships from using their ports.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018, marked the first anniversary of an unprecedented rift between the most powerful members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that created a serious turmoil in West Asia and even putting a powerful ally like the US in lot of inconvenience.

How things stand on the first anniversary of the diplomatic rift?

The crisis did not have any outright winner but created problems for the US to put up a united show against Iran, which it wants to teach a serious lesson over its nuclear ambitions.

The lack of cooperation between the top members of the GCC has already seen the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rushing to West Asia to request its allies to end the alienation of Qatar, also its friend in the region, even before took oath officially.

Qatar, which has shown its intent to become an assertive regional power, restored full diplomatic ties with Iran when facing the boycott and did not show any signs of weakness or surrender against the aggressive foes. Iran, in turn, has opened its airspace for Qatar Airlines flights and sent food and other goods to the country.

In fact, the country's communication office sent out messages with hashtags "movingforward" and "Qatarstronger" ahead of the first anniversary of the blockade, Associated Press reported.

The tension in the GCC, which is seen as a counterweight to Iran, is a serious blow to the US's plans since all the members of the council contribute in some way to Washington's military operations in the region. Moreover, the members of the GCC have been divided over the Qatar issue as the veteran leaderships of Kuwait and Oman have not taken hardline stances on Doha unlike the three other countries - Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain. Kuwait has tried to bridge the gap though it is yet to succeed while Oman has served as a key ally to Qatar at its time of crisis.

One year since the crisis, the two outcomes have been the consolidation of the Qatar-Iran relations and the haze over the US's position over the controversy as President Donald Trump backtracked after showing initial support for Qatar's boycott.

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