VideoCast: How Far Will the Saudi-Qatar Crisis Go?

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Saudi Arabia's King Salman with Qatar's Emir Tamim, May 1, 2017

On Monday, Qatar delivered a reply to a set of 13 demands by Saudi Arabia and three allies.

Last month, Saudi Arabia and the UAE — backed by countries like Libya and Egypt — broke relations with Qatar and imposed an air and sea blockade. They are calling for Qatar to break links with groups like Palestine’s Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, for the shutdown of the international media outlet Al Jazeera, and for the closure of a Turkish base in the emirate.

Will the crisis escalate or is a face-saving compromise possible? I joined Chris Doyle of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding on Sky News to discuss the situation.

There are two factors which mean that Saudi Arabia and Qatar could come to the table. The first is that, far from making Qatar surrender, Saudi Arabia is pushing Doha into an effective alliance with Turkey and with Iran — Saudi Arabia’s rival in the region. The second reason is that the US State Department and Department of Defense, though not necessarily President Trump, are very upset with the Saudis — not least because there is a base with 11,000 US personnel in Qatar.

Those factors could bring a compromise, but there is the wild card of the new Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman.

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