Saudi Arabia doesn’t want peace. That’s the only conclusion from the list of demands leaked today.
The blockade against Qatar came out of nowhere and now they’re raising the stakes. Reuters reports on 13 demands that Saudi Arabia has issued and I don’t see how Qatar can accept them. They’ve been given 10 days and the consequences of not complying weren’t outlined.
What is clear is that the demands would be impossible, if not a capitulation.
1. Qatar must announce the reduction of diplomatic links with Iran and shut down its missions there. It must expel members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and limit commercial ties as long as they do not contradict international and U.S. sanctions on Iran or jeopardise the security of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Qatar must cut any military or intelligence cooperation with Iran.
(Note: Qatar shares an enormous natural gas field with Iran)
2. Shut immediately the Turkish military base currently being established in Qatar, and halt any military cooperation with Turkey in Qatar.
(Note: This is another demand that’s extremely difficult to meet. In part because NATO wants to give Turkey more latitude)
3. Announce it is cutting relations with all terrorist, ideological and sectarian organisations, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, al Qaeda and Hezbollah. Designate them as terrorist groups and add them to the lists announced by the four Arab states.
4. Cease funding of any extremist and terrorist individuals, entities and organisations, including those designated as such by the four countries, the United States and other international organisations.
5. Qatar must hand over all designated terrorists wanted by the four countries, the United States and other international organisations, freeze their assets, and stop hosting others in future. It must commit to present any information needed about them especially their movement, whereabouts, and financial information.
6. Shut down Al Jazeera and all affiliated channels.
7. Stop interfering in the four countries’ domestic and foreign affairs. Stop allowing their citizens to become naturalised Qataris and extradite those who have been naturalised if they have violated laws in the four countries. Cut ties with the opposition in the four countries and give details of previous cooperation between Qatar and those elements.
8. Provide reparations to the four countries for any damage or opportunity costs incurred because of Qatari policies. The mechanism will be decided on in the agreement that will be signed with Qatar.
(Note: Asking for reparations is always a sign that you don’t want real peace, but punishment)
9. Align Qatar with its Gulf and Arab neighbours on all levels (military, political, economic, social and security) which guarantee national, Gulf and Arab security, and activate the Riyadh agreements of 2013 and 2014.
(Note: Societal is an interesting one. Qatar allows women to drive cars and for foreigners to consume alcohol)
10. Provide data showing which opposition groups Qatar supported and what help was provided.
11. Close all media outlets backed by Qatar directly or indirectly.
(Note: Asking a country to shut down all its media outlets is an over-the-top request).
12. All these demands must be agreed to within 10 days of the date of presentation, or they will be considered void.
13. The agreement will involve clear goals and mechanisms, with monthly reports in the first year, every three months in the next year and then annually for 10 years.