‘Saudi-led alliance seeking regime change in Qatar’

The Persian Gulf diplomatic crisis has intensified, with the Saudi-led alliance warning that the Qatari siege will not end unless Doha meets all its demands.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates announced in a joint statement on Tuesday that the new anti-terror agreement reached between Qatar and the United States is insufficient for the lifting of sanctions. The deal was signed after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Doha in an apparent attempt to end the rift between Washington’s Arab allies.

The four countries stressed that they will be watching Qatar to see if it is serious in combating terrorism. Egypt also suggested that Doha be excluded from the so-called US-led coalition against Daesh because of its support for terror.

Seeking regime change

In an interview with Press TV, author and political commentator Naseer al-Omari said Saudi Arabia and its allies should not expect Doha to execute all the changes that they have been demanding, because fulfilling all those demands would require a regime change in Qatar which is practically impossible.

“I am not surprised that they [Saudis and allies] are not happy with this result. They have specific objectives that they wish to accomplish,” al-Omari said.

“They want to see complete turnaround of Qatari foreign policy. They want them to give up their support for the Muslim Brotherhood. This is a condition of Egypt to cooperate with Saudi Arabia on other issues. They also want Qatar to align itself with the Saudis which means that they have to give up their foreign policy; they have to give up their support for different regimes in the region. They [Saudis and allies] basically want to have a change of regime,” he analyzed.

 “I believe this is very hard for Qatar to swallow.”

Nevertheless, he said, Qatar would not be able to continue like this forever and will have to eventually agree with some changes to end this crisis.

Asked about the prospect of a negotiated settlement, al-Omari said that “I believe that they can work something out probably behind the scenes to make the Qataris look like they have maintained their independence while they promise to change their policies gradually and carefully.”

“I believe that Qatar will eventually work something out behind the scenes to please the Saudis and the Emiratis and the Bahrainis and the Egyptians. Otherwise, it would be very hard for Qatar to continue with this situation for a very long time,” he concluded.

The unprecedented crisis in the Persian Gulf region unfolded on June 5, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt cut ties with Qatar, officially accusing it of “sponsoring terrorism” and destabilizing the region. Doha, however, has slammed the measures as unjustified, saying they are based on false claims and assumptions.