Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), by breaking off diplomatic relations and seeking to impose an economic boycott on Qatar, have opened the door to a rewriting of the political map of the Gulf, with potentially far-reaching consequences for nations across the globe.
The dilemma for non-Arab nations like Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan is most immediate. Qatar’s expulsion from the 41-nation, Saudi-led, Sunni Muslim Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism complicates their strenuous efforts to avoid being sucked into an increasing visceral power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
So does the fact that the crisis is likely to be prolonged, given that Qatari acceptance of Saudi and UAE demands would not only humiliate the Gulf state, proud of a history of charting an independent course for decades, but also turn it into a vassal of its bigger Gulf brethren.
… James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. This article first appeared in RSIS Commentary.
Last updated on 16/06/2017