US political analyst Giorgio Cafiero said that the US is irritated with the siege countries’ strong refusal to loosen their actions against Qatar and claimed that the crisis has undermined US’ interests in the region.
Cafiero said in his article that US was coming to terms with its limited capacity to bring the disputing parties towards settlement.
Cafiero referred to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s statement that Riyadh had rebuffed his efforts to bring the four countries and Doha to roundtable talks. As Tillerson put it, “We cannot force talks upon people who aren’t ready to talk.”
The US State Department is quite frank about its stand that Qatar is not responsible for the ongoing crisis and pointed ‘real unwillingness’ from the siege nations to engage in negotiations, Tillerson said days before leaving for the Gulf that the burden is on the Saudi/UAE-led coalition to “engage with Qatar because Qatar has been very clear theyre ready to engage.”
Cafiero added that the move against Qatar has left officials in Washington in a spot of bother, who were not clear about the exact demands of the Saudi-bloc. Although the siege countries later issued a series of 13 demands, and later a list of six principles, the goals of Riyadh and Abu Dhabi were still unclear, he said.
Cariero referred to the words of Timothy Lenderking, the deputy assistant secretary of state for Arabian Gulf affairs at the Near East Bureau, who said that “what is being asked of Qatar should also be asked of those countries as well,” which shows that the general consensus in Washington’s diplomatic establishment has been that Qatar has made significant progress and that other GCC states are legitimately subject to such criticism too on this front.
US has noted that the longer the crisis continues, the slimmer the chances are for settlement and add to that the harsh media coverage which will only worsen the dispute, Cafiero said.
It is clear that the siege nations are not interested to have talks with Qatar and the prolongation of the crisis will put the GCC in risk, which will eventually have an impact on US interests in the region, Cafiero noted.
Cafiero added that the Qatar crisis has yet underscored how Saudi Arabia’s vision for countering terrorism is at odds with the US. For all of the symbolism behind Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia, it still did not put the US government and the Saudi rulers on the same page on the question of who in the Middle East constitutes a terrorist.
The Saudis blame Qatar for backing terrorism and groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, which is not listed in the terror list by the US.
Cafiero concluded that Tillerson’s failure to take both the parties to a negotiating table shows US’ limited influence in the GCC crisis.