Qatar’s Neighbors Pledge to End Embargo, but Uncertainty Lingers

Qatar’s neighbors agreed Tuesday at a regional summit to set aside festering differences that had caused a destabilizing break among the U.S. allies and undermined a pressure campaign on Iran, but sidestepped efforts to resolve the sources of their repeated rifts, the Wall Street Journal reported. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt will reopen their airspace to Qatari jets, restore diplomatic ties with Doha and reverse all other actions taken since they cut relations in 2017. The time frame for these decisions wasn’t clear, and hours later Qatari websites remained blocked in the other countries. The official said Saudi Arabia had already begun working on implementing some of the measures, while other countries might take longer. The exact terms of the deal weren’t made public, but instead were laid out in a document signed by all parties to the dispute plus the remaining members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the official said. Initial demands made of Qatar by the four countries were replaced by broad agreement on principles including nonintervention in others’ internal affairs and cooperating to confront threats to regional security. The deal, forged with backing from White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, requires few tangible concessions from Qatar, largely amounting to a walkback of an aggressive policy of isolation pushed by Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. But it could help present a united front against Iran and further squeeze Tehran by depriving it of funds Qatar had been paying to use its airspace following the embargo. Relapse into another dispute between U.S. allies would threaten regional stability as President-elect Joe Biden looks to renegotiate the nuclear pact with neighboring Iran, Saudi Arabia’s archenemy. Read more. (Subscription required)