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Gulf Crisis: Who Will Blink First?

Gulf Crisis: Who Will Blink First?
Saudi Arabia and its allies gave Qatar a list of 13 far-reaching demands as a prerequisite for ending the Gulf Crisis, though Doha said that not only does it outright reject some of them, but that it won't enter into dialogue until the nearly month-long blockade is lifted first.

A few of the points contained in the ultimatum include shutting down Al Jazeera and its affiliates, kicking Turkey out of its new military base, dramatically downscaling relations with Iran, and cutting all ties with certain Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia gave Qatar 10 days to comply with these and other harsh terms, meaning that it has until next week to do what it’s told, though it’s unclear what will happen if Doha doesn’t abide by these orders.

One of the peculiarities of the Gulf Crisis is that it’s curiously put the US and Turkey somewhat – key word – on the same side, at least superficially, in spite of their recent high-level disagreements over the Syrian Kurds. Washington surprised a lot of observers by lightly criticizing some of Riyadh’s demands on Doha and visibly making an attempt to pragmatically “balance” between the two sides. Ankara, for its part, has spoken out against the multilateral bullying of its Gulf ally, and President Erdogan stated in no uncertain terms that the Turkish military base in Qatar won’t be going anywhere. While Turkey’s position is somewhat predictable given its leadership’s ideological affiliation with the Qatari-sponsored Muslim Brotherhood, some analysts were taken aback by the US’ unexpected stand, leading them to wonder whether Washington is being disingenuous with its “moderate” position and playing a double game.

If left unresolved, there’s a chance that Qatar and Iran could move even closer together and possibly even cooperate with Russia in forming a “gas OPEC”, something which is completely contradictory to Saudi Arabia’s interests, especially if this leads to an EU-destined pipeline through Turkey. On the other hand, the tightening of the Saudi-led Arab axis between itself, Bahrain, the UAE, and Egypt is also problematic for Qatar and Iran, so either way, something will probably give sooner than later, but the question is, who blinks first?

Patrick Henningsen, Executive Editor or 21st Century, and Gilbert Mercier, author of "The Orwellian Empire", editor-in-chief of News Junkie Post, and geopolitical analyst, commented on the issue.

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