It was 12 months ago, when news broke of the UAE – along with Saudi; Bahrain and Egypt – deciding to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar.
It shook the region, and the globe, in fact, that the four Gulf states had opted for extreme measures but what followed explained the reasoning.
The UAE released an infographic of why action had been taken
And the four states offered Qatar 13 stipulations to rebuild relationships
But Qatar declined.
The country opted to forgo relations with the surrounding countries – rather, aligning itself with Iran and Turkey, and receiving help from other countries to combat its trade.
The 13 requirements, issued 12 months ago were:
- Curb diplomatic ties with Iran and close its diplomatic missions there. Expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard from Qatar and cut off any joint military cooperation with Iran. Only trade and commerce with Iran that complies with U.S. and international sanctions will be permitted.
- Sever all ties to “terrorist organizations,” specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State group, al-Qaida, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Formally declare those entities as terrorist groups.
- Shut down Al-Jazeera and its affiliate stations.
- Shut down news outlets that Qatar funds, directly and indirectly, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al-Jadeed and Middle East Eye.
- Immediately terminate the Turkish military presence currently in Qatar and end any joint military cooperation with Turkey inside of Qatar.
- Stop all means of funding for individuals, groups or organizations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, the United States and other countries.
- Hand over “terrorist figures” and wanted individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to their countries of origin. Freeze their assets, and provide any desired information about their residency, movements and finances.
- End interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Revoke Qatari citizenship for existing nationals where such citizenship violates those countries’ laws.
- Stop all contacts with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Hand over all files detailing Qatar’s prior contacts with and support for those opposition groups.
- Pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other, financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years. The sum will be determined in coordination with Qatar.
- Align itself with the other Gulf and Arab countries militarily, politically, socially and economically, as well as on economic matters, in line with an agreement reached with Saudi Arabia in 2014.
- Agree to all the demands within 10 days of it being submitted to Qatar, or the list becomes invalid. The document doesn’t specify what the countries will do if Qatar refuses to comply.
- Consent to monthly audits for the first year after agreeing to the demands, then once per quarter during the second year. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.
Qatar declined the 13 requirements, and the nations then ended in a stalemate
And so, 12 months later – the situation remains. There are no direct flights between Qatar and the four countries, Qatar Airways is not operating within the UAE or Saudi, Al Jazeera channels remain blocked in the UAE and diplomatic ties are no more.
Even recently, Qatar ordered stores to strip shelves of any UAE or Saudi imported products – what could be a sign this stand-off is set to continue.
The UAE’s state minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash has said it could take years to resolve
And given the decision not to meet the demands – for which the four Gulf states say they will not compromise on – it doesn’t look like it’s ending any time soon.