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The Saudi-UAE axis has destabilising plans beyond the Gulf

The Saudi-UAE axis has destabilising plans beyond the Gulf

As the situation in the Middle East continues to escalate, with Iran and the US-Saudi axis trading accusations over sabotaged vessels in the Gulf, Qataris quietly marked two years of living under siege.

Although the land, sea and air blockade the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt imposed on Qatar in June 2017 has taken a backseat because of the Iranian crisis, the confrontation at its heart has by far not diminished.

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi continue lobbying against Doha on international platforms and are showing no sign of easing their economic siege. This became apparent once again at the three summits the Saudi king hosted in Mecca last month, to which Qatar was invited.

During the proceedings, Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf said a solution to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) crisis would only be possible if Doha goes back to the “right path” – that is, if it heeds to the Saudi and Emirati regional agenda.

Despite having failed to subdue their neighbour thus far, both Abdu Dhabi and Riyadh seemingly believe that hostile measures can still yield the desired outcome. Their persistence with the blockade is part of their larger plan to establish regional hegemony in the long term. The success of their plan, however, is very much wedded to US President Donald Trump securing a second term.