Amidst the deepening Gulf crisis, Saudi Arabia and its allies have presented a list of steep demands to Qatar to end their dispute which has rattled the region for nearly three weeks.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Yemen and Egypt had announced earlier this month that they have joined Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar. The nations said that their decision was based on the claims that Qatar supported Islamist groups and associated with terrorism. Doha, however, denies all the allegations.
Among the 13 requirements in the list sent by the Gulf nations, some of them require Qatar to shut the popular Al-Jazeera TV network, cut back diplomatic ties with Iran, sever relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and end Turkey's military presence in Qatar, according to two Western diplomats in the region familiar with the document.
The list was handed to the Qatari government by Kuwait, which is mediating the dispute between the nations.
Considering the tough list of demands, the questions remains: will Qatar succumb to pressure and fulfil the demands listed by the major Gulf countries, or will it abstain? Diplomats have predicted that the tiny Gulf state is likely to refuse to comply, according to Bloomberg.
Countries from across the world are pressuring the Saudi-led bloc to zero down on what it wants from Qatar to end the current crisis. The United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on June 21, had said that he hopes the demand laid out by the bloc would be "reasonable and actionable."
However, the demands meted out by the top Gulf countries are nowhere near reasonable.
"The demands are severe and and show resolve and determination when it comes to what's at stake," said Sami Nader, head of the Beirut-based Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs. "This is a bargaining position to start talks. That is why they upped the stakes," Bloomberg reported Nader as saying.
Qatar's foreign minister on June 19 said that the country will not bargain away its sovereign rights and asked for the alliance to come to a table and conduct the negotiations in a "civilised" manner, which is to lift the blockade first.
The Qatari minister also said that the residents of the country were united behind their emir, and added that Al-Jazeera and foreign policy are included in its internal affairs, and are not open to negotiation.