Will the Saudi Showdown with Qatar Trigger a Broader Conflict?

In Borders by Micha Gefen

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As the Saudi 24 hour ultimatum to Qatar reaches the final stretch, the broader alliances throughout the Middle East and beyond have begun to harden. Turkey’s parliament passed a law ratifying military cooperation, arms, and training with Qatar.  Cooperation with Turkey and Iran has also broadened into other areas.

“We are in talks with Turkey and Iran and other countries,” said an official, who spoke to Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, adding that the supplies would be brought in through Qatar Airways cargo flights.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov when he visits Moscow on June 10, Russian news agencies cited a Russian diplomatic source as saying on Thursday.

With all of this maneuvering, observers are increasingly of the assumption that a war to push the Thani family out of Qatar is close at hand.  Given Qatar’s growing list of allies, any small war has the potential to turn into something far larger.

Once again Qatar’s allies are not surprising.  After all the Syrian conflict has roots in pushing back at Iranian hegemony as well as thwarting the Turkish-Qatari gas pipeline which was supposed to run through Syria.

There is no question that battle lines are being drawn for a wider conflict.  The only question is whether the Saudi standoff with Qatar will trigger a conflict that no one will be able to contain.


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