Consequences of the strategic alliance between Qatar and the United States in the military field

2022/04/05 | interview, political, top news

Strategic Council Online—Interview: An expert of West Asian affairs says internal differences among the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council members will be further deepened and evident with the announcement of Qatar as the main ally of the United States outside NATO, adding that such announcement will cause political and even security repercussions.

Ahmad Dastmalchian told the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations that Qatar should remember the bitter experience of the past in the Persian Gulf when littoral states invited the United States and other foreign forces to create security there.

He said such a decision by the White House to declare Qatar as the main US ally outside NATO has been influenced by the rivalry between the two ruling parties in the United States over the issues of the region, adding that Democrats have long taken positions against and been critical of Saudi Arabia’s violent behavior and the type of government that governs it.

“The Saudis see themselves as more aligned with the Republicans; As if we saw what the Saudis did about Trump coming to power, and Trump reacted positively to that,” he said when asked about the reasons behind US criticism of Saudi Arabia especially concerning human rights.

The former Iranian diplomat said that with Biden in power in the White House, human rights cases, particularly the case of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, were opened in the United States against Saudi Arabia and confidential information was released by Democrats, as well as pressure from the White House to end the war in Yemen and whispers of Saudi arms embargo due to the continuation of aggression against Yemen, which did not realize, indicate the type of approaches taken by the incumbent US administration towards Riyadh.

 

For the United States, Qatar is a good replacement for Saudi Arabia in the region

Dastmalchian said that for Washington, Qatar is a good replacement for Saudi Arabia in the region as Qatar is hosting the US Al Udeid air base and has established extensive arm relations with the United States, adding that Qatar has a lot of wealth, and in the current sensitive situation for Europe, due to the crisis in Ukraine, its gas resources have become more important.

“In governance, they pay more attention to modern politics than Saudi Arabia and have better relations with their neighbors, especially Iran. Qatar has found the opportunity to mediate in some regional cases due to its ability to negotiate and tolerate”.

He said that given the gap we now see in Saudi-US relations, Qatar seems to be a better option for continuing US policy in the region. Moreover, with the visit of Sheikh Tamim to Washington and the important negotiations that took place, this policy will be activated more than before.

Pointing to the Qatari cooperation and engagement in talks related to some regional and international cases with the United States especially concerning relations with Iran, the issue of Palestine and Taliban talks, Dastmalchian said that the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain tried to isolate Qatar during the Trump era, but Doha was able to break the siege due to its high influence in the American and European lobbies and its political negotiations with Iran and Turkey. The choice of Qatar as an ally of the United States, given this background, has important messages for the Arab countries in the region.

“In this situation, the two fronts in the Persian Gulf are competing with each other. On the one hand, there are the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which, while laying the groundwork for or establishing relations with the Zionist regime, provide the conditions for its presence in the region. This front is frustrated with the United States and is struggling to try its luck by approaching the Zionist regime and indirectly influencing the United States, as well as highlighting relations with the East; On the other side are Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, where Qatar, given its political background, seeks to advance its policies, taking into account the role and position of regional powers, such as Iran and Turkey, and the realities of the balance of power”.

 

Increased regional competition

This expert of West Asian affairs said Qatar is trying to establish positive engagements with the main elements and activists of the region, adding that the United States has taken a similar view of Qatar; Undoubtedly, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, given the broader and strategic military ties that the United States will have with Qatar, will feel more competition, which manifests itself in various forms, and will deepen and make more evident the differences within the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council, which will have political and even security consequences.

Referring to the positions of Iran especially towards the Persian Gulf and political and security relations with the countries of this region, he said that experience has shown that Iran’s stance on security in the Persian Gulf has been realistic and pragmatic. Iran knows that given the declining role of the United States in the region and its lack of effective influence in regional processes, the best option is for collective dialogue between actors within the region for security cooperation and the establishment of stability and security. Until that happens, it will not be possible for this region to find peace and security.

 

Necessity of attention to inter-regional security and repercussions of foreign interference

Dastmalchian emphasized that Qatar should be vigilant of such issues and the approach taken by the rules of Qatar has been in this line.

“Today, it is time for the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, despite their differences, to form comprehensive and joint negotiations and cooperation with Iran, as a large, stable and powerful country in the region, in order to pave the grounds for the establishment of peace, stability and development in the region.”

Asked about the impact of closer relations between the Untied States and Qatar on Doha’s position towards Iran, the issue of Palestine and resistance movement, Dastmalchian said Qatar seems to be able to adjust to the realities, given the political maturity of its leadership, especially some behind the scenes, such as former Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, who is one of the country’s political geniuses.

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