Ever since the Arab Spring, the Middle East region plugged with unprecedented security challenges. Escalated violence perpetrated by proxy wars, hostilities between the regional contending actors jeopardized the security contours of the region while it also posed a devious drive for the geostrategic, geopolitical paradigm shift. Amid, Israel’s drive of normalizing ties with the regional states and pandemic repercussions, a sigh of relief for the proponents of perpetual peace globally as KSA-Qatar seeks rapprochement in their bilateral ties. Both states agree to de-escalate the tensions through negotiations and also announced to reopen the land, air, and sea borders that were closed due to their strained ties for the past three years. The fresh regional geopolitical development is being acknowledged by the global community. Above all, the breaking news rejoiced the masses of the entire gulf as simmering tensions between two regional power houses created grave apprehensions. In retrospect, A breakthrough in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) emergency, occurred on January 4th with Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Amhad Nasser Al Sabah declaring an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Qatar that prompted significant facilitating of the Gulf dispute – started in the mid- year 2017 when Riyadh alongside Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) unexpectedly cut off political and economic ties with Doha. This Saudi-Qatari rapprochement is an achievement for Kuwaiti authorities who have endeavored to bring the different sides of the GCC’s Qatar rift towards a settlement.
The normalization of ties also provided Pakistan a considerable relief as it found difficulties in maintaining the balance between the Qatar-KSA relations due to cordial ties with the two states. Pakistan lauded the decision by both the parties to reopen the land, air, and sea borders. Furthermore, it also appreciated other measures taken by the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that will also contribute to the resolution of outstanding issues between the countries of the organization persisting for almost four years. In particular, Pakistan admired the key role played by the Emir of Kuwait towards crisis mitigation between the countries of the GCC and it also pined hope that the GCC Summit, being held today in Riyadh, will further build on these encouraging developments and lead to enhanced confidence and cooperation among the countries of the organization. In an official statement by the FO on the particular issue, Pakistan continues to accord high importance to its relationship with the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as its bilateral relations with all GCC countries.
With Saudi-Qatari relations moving towards positive conduct, the regional prospects of constructive re-engagement have once again enlightened that would also contribute to addressing the key regional security, economic, and social challenges. The opportunity allows Turkey to build an indestructible relationship with Riyadh. However, Tehran may not miss out on the Saudi-Qatari rapprochement as much as certain experts predict further geostrategic entanglements for Iran. Since the GCC’s foundation, Iran tends to seek the benefit from the divisions inside the sub-territorial Arabian institution. There is no rejecting that Tehran was a significant beneficiary of the Gulf dispute when it ejected three-and-a-half years prior as the dispute offered Iran a chance to carry its partnership with Qatar higher than ever.
Moreover, the US was critical to this arrangement, yet generally because of Saudi concerns about the approaching organization’s foreign policy. Ever since the Arab-Israel normalization effect, the US has had two major reasons to play a part in ending the dispute between KSA, Qatar, and many other Gulf states. The US seeks to make a joint Gulf-front against Iran. Consequently, Qatar, which genuinely has a superior diplomatic understanding with Iran and offers geographic vicinity with the Shia-majority, ought to be brought once more into the Gulf coalition to restrict Iranian impact. Notwithstanding the pessimistic views, the normal ties between the two states are significant for the regional crisis and challenges. The stalled trade relations also ensued economic repercussions to the entire region already. Besides, the protracted conflicts await collective regional efforts to resolve through peaceful means rather than coercive actions. This development will also provide an advantage to the countries that hung in balancing the ties between the two states. The smooth ties will also assist to mitigate the pandemic challenges it will also increase prospects of positive-sum gain.