EghtesadOnline: Kuwait’s ruler is stepping up his efforts to resolve one of the worst crises among Persian Gulf Arab monarchies, a day after Saudi Arabia and its allies isolated Qatar by cutting off air and sea transport and closing the small nation’s only land border.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah will travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to mediate an end to the feud, according to a Gulf government official with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Sheikh Sabah also spoke with Qatar’s ruler and urged him to avoid any escalation, Kuwaiti state-run media reported.
The crisis pits U.S. allies against each other, disrupting trade, flights and business activity in one of the world’s most strategically important regions. The Saudi-led action has prompted some analysts to openly speculate about the possibility of a regime change in Qatar, the No. 1 exporter of liquefied natural gas, whose sovereign wealth fund with stakes in global companies from Barclays Plc to Credit Suisse Group, according to Bloomberg.
The moves are aimed at “forcing a complete change in Qatari policy or creating an environment for leadership change in Doha,” Ayham Kamel and Hani Sabra, analysts at New York-based risk analyst Eurasia Group, said in an emailed note. “Saudi Arabia and its allies will not accept any solution short of capitulation.”
The escalation hammered Qatari stocks on Monday, with the benchmark QE Index falling the most since 2009. They were little changed at 11:08 a.m. on Tuesday.
Qatar dismissed the charges as baseless, and said the Saudis are seeking to dominate the region. Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani delayed a speech to the nation on Monday to allow Kuwaiti efforts a chance to succeed, Foreign Minister Mohammed Al Thani told Al Jazeera television.
“Qatar will not take measures to escalate, because Qatar thinks that such disagreements between GCC states or between brotherly and friendly states must be resolved through dialogue,” he said. The Qatari ruler “considers Sheikh Sabah as his father, and he honored his wish to postpone any step or speech to the people until there is a clearer picture of this crisis,” he said.
The dispute among some of the world’s richest countries broke out days after President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia last month. The president wants to “de-escalate” the crisis and is committed to holding talks with all parties, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters Monday.