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Qatar Crisis: A Beginning to the End?


The 41st GCC Summit marks a turning point in the Qatar crisis. However, if not repaired, the issues that led to the crisis could easily resurface.

5 January 2021 marked the formal beginning of the end of the three-and-a-half-year Qatar crisis. GCC leaders, including the Qatari Emir Tamim and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, gathered for the 41st GCC Summit in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia where they signed the ‘security and stability’ agreement.

They publicly acknowledged it was time to ‘fold the page of the past’ officially moving beyond the acrimony and tensions that had pervaded GCC politics since 2017. As part of the agreement, the Quartet states that led the blockade (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain) agreed to open air, land and sea routes to Qatar.

In exchange, Doha would rescind Qatari lawsuits against the four countries at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Collectively, they agreed to desist from negative media coverage and work towards mending a rift that has caused immense reputational, social, financial and political damage for the GCC.

While the GCC has continued to function at a lower level, the rift exposed existent divergences and competitive dynamics within the bloc. Without acknowledgement or meaningful repair, these issues could easily resurface yet again.

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