CAIRO – 10 July 2017: In reaction to the leaked letter about Qatar’s exit from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), political affairs experts excluded this procedure, urging that the Gulf nation could suffer consequences that cause additional deterioration for its economic and diplomatic affairs.
A leaked letter circulated on Monday reported that Qatar is ready to exit the GCC within three days if the policies of the Arab countries continued against it. This was seen as a precedented attempt by Qatar to exit itself from the council, prior to any actions by the four Arab countries to withdraw its membership.
Previously, the Bahraini Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa announced that the council will discuss in its first upcoming session the suspension of Qatar’s membership in the council. Also, figures in the four countries that boycotted Qatar have demanded the withdrawal of Qatar from the council, as one of the sanctions against the Gulf emirate’s practices of supporting terrorism.
However, political analysts saw that Qatar is not ready in fact to take such action, as the cutting of ties with the four Arab States, particularly the Gulf countries, has weakened the country’s situation on diplomatic and economic levels.
In this regard, Egypt Today spoke to a number of political science and foreign affairs experts to explain the validity of the leaked letter and what would be the consequences if Qatar really quitted the council.
Tarek Fahmy, political science professor at Cairo University, commented on the leaked letters, saying, “The leaked letter is not yet sufficient to confirm if Qatar would take such action or not, since it’s not something official,” adding that in general, “Qatar will not quit the GCC and will not take such action alone, and that its withdrawal will only happen if the other remaining five countries of the council agreed on this or forced Qatar to leave”.
Still, it is unclear if the five countries would agree to withdraw Qatar from the council, as Kuwait’s and Oman’s stances might be different than the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Agreeing with Fahmy, member in the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Samir Ghataas also noted that he doubts that Qatar will quit the council that represents importance to the Gulf nation’s work.
Both professors urged that Qatar believes that remaining in the council, and being keen to the Gulf is significant for its interests. They also added that in the case Qatar left the council, either by its own decision or forced, the Gulf emirate will focus on strengthening a regional axis with Iran and Turkey.
Infograph by Ahmed Hussein
Following the crisis of cutting ties, Iran has already shown support for Qatar, as the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been sent to protect Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani inside his palace.
Meanwhile, Turkey has also sent products to Qatar a few days after cutting ties with Gulf neighbors, as the country faced a shortage of fresh produce, subliminally messaging that Qatar is not alone.
Turkey also has sent focuses from a Turkish military base to Qatar, in exchange for economic benefits from Qatar.
Abdel Moneem Saeed, the head of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said that if Qatar left or withdraw from the council, that would put it in more diplomatic and political isolation, explaining that the Gulf country had been receiving products from its neighboring Gulf countries, such as the UAE, which then stopped, subjecting the Gulf nation to face shortages.
Qatar will address these shortages through partnerships with countries that might geographically be far away and will cost Qatar more customs expenses, Saeed continued.
Last week, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain said in a joint statement that the ultimatum that had been given to Qatar is now void, leading to further legal, political and economic measures against the government of Qatar.