Qatar and Saudi Arabia quarrel over Iran. UAE minister warns of rift in Gulf Alliance
UAE foreign minister speaks of a serious crisis tht requires rebuilding trust among governments. Relations with Iran and the battle for regional supremacy are the main reasons for the situation. Abd al-Wahhab descendants ask Qatar leaders to change the name of Doha mosque.
Dubai (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The alliance among Arab Gulf nations is facing a major crisis, and there is a need to rebuild trus, especially between Saudi Arabia and Qatar over Iran, this according to Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The reason for the situation are remarks published in the media attributed to Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani criticising Gulf rhetoric against Iran as well as alleged strains between the emir and US President Donald Trump.
In the recent past, tensions have been rising between Iran and its Gulf Arab neighbours, who accuse Tehran of trying to expand its influence in Arab countries, including Syria and Yemen.
Qatar has denied making the critical comments, saying its news agency had been hacked, but Saudi Arabia and the UAE allowed their state-backed media to continue running the story, angering Doha.
"The Gulf Cooperation Council countries are passing through a new sharp crisis that carries within it a great danger," Gargash said. "Fending off sedition lies in changing behavior, building trust and regaining credibility," he added, without mentioning Qatar by name.
So far, Gulf countries have made no official comment on the rift, which emerged after Trump's first visit to Saudi Arabia and his meetings with Arab and Muslim heads of state after he took office in January.
The row appears to stem from old accusations made in 2014 that Qatar backed Islamists outlawed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Ties between Qatar and some of its GCC allies suffered an eight-month breakdown three years ago over Qatar's alleged support for the Muslim Brotherhood, whose political ideology challenges the principle of dynastic rule.
Gargash said that the road to resolving any crisis "between someone and his brothers was to have true intentions, abide by commitments, change the behavior that had caused damage and turn a new page". The goal is to reach “unity” and “stability” in the region.
The confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Qatar has a religious aspect as well. In recent days Saudi descendants of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, founder of Wahhabism, distanced themselves from Qatar`s royal family, demanding it change to the name of the country's most important mosque.
Some 200 descendants of the 18th century Muslim cleric launched the initiative, denying any direct relationship between Ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Qatar`s ruling family, the al-Thani.
The place of worship at the centre of the dispute is located in Doha and opened in 2011. The mosque can accommodate up to 11,000 people. The imam is Yusuf Al Qaradawi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader who has often waded into controversy with his fatwas (religious edicts).