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Qatar–United Arab Emirates relations

Qatar–United Arab Emirates relations are the relations between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The relationship between the two countries has been severed following the 2017–19 Qatar diplomatic crisis.

Qatar–United Arab Emirates relations
Map indicating locations of Qatar and United Arab Emirates

Qatar

United Arab Emirates

Both countries share a naval border and are part of the Arabic-speaking Arabian Gulf region. They are both members of the GCC.[1]

On 5 June 2017, UAE cut diplomatic relations with Qatar, giving the country's diplomats 48 hours to leave the country.[2]

Diplomatic visitsEdit

Visits by QatarEdit

In March 2016, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani visited Abu Dhabi and met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.[3]

Visits by United Arab EmiratesEdit

In 2008, the president of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, visited Doha where he met Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Amir of Qatar. The two leaders set up a joint investment fund.[4]

In 28 November 2014, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, visited Doha and met with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.[5]

HistoryEdit

Both Qatar and the UAE once shared a common history under trucial sheikhdom dominated and ruled as British protectorates under the British Empire, and very close in Gulf Arab history.

Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Coup d'étatEdit

In 1995, after Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani deposed his father to become emir of Qatar, UAE granted asylum to the deposed Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani in a quarters in Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan tried to mediate between the father and his son, and advised Khalifa bin Hamad to congratulate his son.[6]

The coup affair was revived in 2018 after the Qatar diplomatic crisis with Al Jazeera broadcasting documentaries of new details accusing UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt, of plotting to overthrow Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and reinstating his father Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani.[7] According to Al Jazeera, a former French army commander Paul Barril was contracted and supplied with weapons by the UAE to carry out the coup operation in Qatar.[7] UAE minister of foreign affairs Anwar Gargash responded to the documentary and stated that Paul Barril was in fact a security agent of Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani who visited Abu Dhabi and had no relationship with the UAE and the documentary was a falsification to inculpate the UAE.[8]

2014 Riyadh AgreementEdit

The UAE, along with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, withdrew their ambassador from Qatar in March 2014 due to alleged failure by Qatar to abide by an agreement not to interfere in the politics of these countries.[9] The main reason for the dispute was UAE's support for the political regime in Egypt led by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Egypt’s military elite which contrasted Qatar's support for the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood.[10]

The government of Qatar continued to back the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and Qatar's emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani denounced el-Sisi's election as president in June 2014 as a ‘military coup’.[10] The ambassadors returned to their posts in June.[11]

In September 2014, it was reported that the Emirati government invested $3 mn into a lobbying campaign against Qatar, primarily as a response to Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood.[12] The campaign was aimed at influencing American journalists to publish critical articles of Qatar's alleged funding of Islamist groups.[13] Qatar has also been accused of influencing news outlets to report unfavorably on the UAE.[14]

It was claimed by journalist Brian Whitaker that the UAE used Global Network for Rights and Development, an NGO to which it has ties, as a political tool. Whitaker claimed that the organization showed favoritism in its 2014 human rights index by ranking UAE at 14 and Qatar at 97. The organization has also taken an opposing stance towards Qatar's hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup over human rights concerns. Two of the organization's employees were arrested by Qatari authorities in 2014 while they were investigating the living standards of foreign laborers.[15]

Libyan Civil WarEdit

The second Libyan Civil War has been described as a proxy conflict between the two countries, with the UAE backing the secular Tobruk government and Qatar backing the Islamist National Salvation Government.[16][17][18]

2017–19 Qatar diplomatic crisisEdit

On 5 June 2017, the UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain, severed ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.[19] This was precipitated by messages being inserted into a broadcast by the Qatar News Agency in May 2017 which criticized Saudi Arabia and cast Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood in a positive light. Qatar denied that it was responsible for the messages, claiming that its news agency was hacked. As a result, the four aforementioned countries censored all Qatari news outlets.[20]

In addition to severing ties on 5 June, the UAE also expelled all Qatari nationals living in the Emirates and prohibited its citizens from travelling to Qatar. Furthermore, the UAE closed off its airspace and territorial waters to Qatari vessels.[19]

Islam Hassan argues "there has been always competition between al-Nahyans of Abu Dhabi and al-Thanis of Qatar. This competition goes back to the 1800s. The Arab uprisings ushered a new chapter in the Qatari–Emirati competition. The competition led to the Emiratis playing a major role in the withdrawal of ambassadors from Qatar in 2014. At the beginning of the current diplomatic crisis, particularly after the hacking saga, UAE was trying to maintain the problem. Yet, Al Jazeera's publishing of Yousuf al-Otaiba's leaked emails got the UAE on board with Saudi Arabia."[21][22]

In two separate incidents, on 21 December 2017 and 3 January 2018, the UAE was accused by Qatar's government of infringing on its airspace with fighter jets. As a result, two complaints were filed to the UN by Qatar's representative Alya bint Ahmed Al Thani.[23] For their part, the UAE rebuked the allegations, claiming that it had never impeached on Qatar's airspace with warplanes.[24]

On 14 January, Qatari Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al-Thani, who had been touted by Saudi Arabia and the UAE as a potential replacement for Qatar's current emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, reportedly released a video in which he claimed he was being detained in the UAE by Emirati authorities after being invited to the country by Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Emirati authorities denied that he was being forcefully held.[25]

Another air traffic-related incident occurred on 15 January 2018, when the UAE accused Qatar of 'intercepting' two civilian airliners en route to Bahrain with fighter jets.[26] This was quickly denied by Qatari government officials.[27]

During the 2019 Asian Cup semifinal match between Qatar and the tournament host United Arab Emirates, the UAE supporters threw bottles and footwears into the pitch. This conduct was preceded by booing the Qatari national anthem. Qatar won 4–0 despite the situation, paving way to their first Asian Cup final and eventual title.[28][29][30][31]

EnergyEdit

Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates are linked by the Dolphin Gas Project, which is the Gulf Cooperation Council's first cross-border refined gas transmission project. The project is developed and operated by Dolphin Energy, a company established in Abu Dhabi.[32] It is the operator of all upstream, midstream, and downstream phases of the project. Dolphin Energy is 51% owned by Mubadala Development Company, on behalf of the Government of Abu Dhabi, and 24.5% each owned by Total S.A. of France and Occidental Petroleum of the United States. Despite the Qatar diplomatic crisis and the severing of relations between the two countries, there are no plans to shut down the pipeline.[33]

In March 2019, Qatar lodged a complaint to International Atomic Energy Agency regarding the United Arab Emirates Barakah nuclear power plant, stating that it poses a serious threat to regional stability and the environment. The UAE denied that there are safety issues with the plant, which is being built by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), and stated “The United Arab Emirates ... adheres to its commitment to the highest standards of nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation.”[34]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Profile: Gulf Co-operation Council". BBC. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  2. ^ Reuters. "Saudi Arabia cuts ties to Qatar, cites 'terrorism'". www.khaleejtimes.com. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  3. ^ "أمير قطر يصل إلى الإمارات في "زيارة أخوية قصيرة"". alkhaleejonline.net. 17 March 2016.
  4. ^ "UAE and Qatar enhance relations". Gulf News. 25 March 2008. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  5. ^ "محمد بن زايد يبحث مع امير قطر تعزيز التعاون الاخوي". Emirates News Agency. 28 November 2014.
  6. ^ "قرقاش: هذا كان رأي الشيخ زايد بإزاحة أمير قطر السابق لأبيه". arabi21.com. 8 March 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Qatar 1996 coup plot: New details reveal Saudi-UAE backing". Al Jazeera. 17 December 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  8. ^ Arabic CNN (17 December 2018). "قرقاش يكذّب "مرتزقا" فرنسيا ربط الإمارات بمحاولة انقلاب 1996 بقطر".
  9. ^ Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Saad Abedine (5 March 2014). "Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain withdraw envoys from Qatar". CNN. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  10. ^ a b Islam Hassan (31 March 2015). "GCC's 2014 Crisis: Causes, Issues and Solutions". Al Jazeera Research Center. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  11. ^ "Withdrawn Gulf ambassadors to return to Doha within days". Middle East Monitor. 7 June 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  12. ^ Julian Pecquet (3 August 2015). "Qatar crawls in from the cold". Al Monitor. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  13. ^ Lesley Walker (28 September 2014). "Qatar, UAE under fire for PR tactics over 2022 and Islamist backing". Doha News. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  14. ^ Chris Mondloch (3 April 2015). "The UAE Campaign Against Islamist Extremism Is a Royal Pain For Qatar". VICE News. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  15. ^ James Dorsey (11 February 2015). "UAE Embarks on Global Campaign to Market Its Brand of Autocracy". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  16. ^ "How the Gulf Arab Rivalry Tore Libya Apart". The National Interest. 11 December 2015.
  17. ^ "Qatar, the UAE and the Libya connection". Al-Jazeera. 12 June 2017.
  18. ^ "Is Libya a proxy war?". Washington Post. 24 October 2014.
  19. ^ a b "Four countries cut links with Qatar over 'terrorism' support". BBC News. 5 June 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  20. ^ Neveen Youssef (25 May 2017). "Qatar hacking row fuels Gulf tensions". BBC News. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  21. ^ "Qatar Pursues an Independent Foreign Policy that Clashes with the Saudi's Strategic Interests" (PDF). Eurasia Diary. 8 June 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  22. ^ "Saudi Diplomatic Offensive on Qatar to Barely Impact Anti-Terror Fight in Region". Sputnik International. 8 June 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  23. ^ "Qatar files UN complaints as 'UAE jets breach airspace'". Al Jazeera. 13 January 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  24. ^ "UAE denies violation of Qatari airspace". Middle East Monitor. 13 January 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  25. ^ "Mystery over 'detained' Qatari sheikh in UAE". news.com.au. 15 January 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  26. ^ "Qatar denies intercepting Emirati civilian aircraft". The Washington Post. 15 January 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  27. ^ "Qatar denies intercepting Emirati civilian aircraft". Al Jazeera. 15 January 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  28. ^ "Qatar 4-0 United Arab Emirates". BBC. 29 January 2019. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  29. ^ Aditya (29 January 2019). "Watch: Fans throw shoes at the Qatar players after Almoez Ali scores their second goal against the UAE in the AFC Asian Cup 2019". Fox Sports Asia. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  30. ^ "With Shoes and Insults Flying, Qatar Beats U.A.E. and Advances to Asian Cup Final". The New York Times. Associated Press. 29 January 2019. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  31. ^ "Asian Cup: Qatar pelted with shoes by hostile UAE fans as they thrash hosts 4-0 to reach final". South China Morning Post. Agence France-Presse. 30 January 2019. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  32. ^ "Dolphin Gas Project, Ras Laffan, Qatar". hydrocarbons-technology.com. Retrieved 12 July 2007.
  33. ^ "Qatar has no plan to shut Dolphin gas pipeline to UAE despite rift: sources". Reuters. 6 June 2017.
  34. ^ De Clercq, Geert (20 March 2019). "Qatar says UAE nuclear plant is threat to regional stability". Reuters.