Qatar: Many Demands From GCC Are Non-Starters

2 MINS READJun 23, 2017 | 21:21 GMT
Qatar is unlikely to comply with most of the 13 demands that fellow members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) presented it. The list, reportedly from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, as well as Egypt, was released to AP and other news organizations by unnamed sources, possibly in Kuwait. It details what Qatar would need to do to end its current diplomatic and economic isolation by other Arab states. If the country does not respond to the demands in 10 days, the offer will be void.
The list is reminiscent of requests made of Qatar during the GCC crisis of 2014. The demands include that Qatar downgrade diplomatic ties with Iran, sever ties to terrorist organizations (particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State, al Qaeda and Hezbollah), and shut down Al Jazeera and other Qatari-backed news outlets. Doha must also end its meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, cease contacting the political opposition of the states blockading it and consent to periodic GCC audits. One demand that did not come up in the 2014 crisis requires Qatar to cut military ties with Turkey. Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are uneasy about Turkey's forays into Gulf affairs, especially after Ankara deployed additional troops to Qatar on June 18. The Turkish defense minister said June 23 that his country does not intend to end its military cooperation with Doha, suggesting that the demand, like many of the others, will simply prolong the conflict.
In reply, Qatar released an unofficial list of counterdemands June 23. It asks that Saudi- and Emirati-backed media channels ease off on anti-Islamist stories and that other GCC states stop encroaching on Doha's sovereign foreign policy and interfering with Qatar in Libya and Yemen. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are unlikely to respond to the demands. 
Despite recent signs that relations were returning to normal — for instance, Doha's congratulations to the new Saudi crown prince — the lists suggest that tensions between Saudi Arabia and Qatar have only mounted. Prominent Qataris such as the head of Al Jazeera have already indicated their unwillingness to comply with the demands. Social media, meanwhile, is alight with Qataris decrying and mocking the list. Meeting all the demands would represent a steep capitulation, after all, and Qatar has given no sign that it would be willing to fall in line behind Saudi Arabia.

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