New assertive generation of Gulf leaders at heart of Qatar rift

By REUTERS
June 19, 2017 15:11
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Two years after launching headfirst into a conflict in Yemen that has no end in sight, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have astonished the world again, this time with a severe boycott of neighboring Qatar.

Like the Yemen war, which has killed more than 10,000 people, the rift with Qatar is most closely associated with a new generation of leaders in the energy-rich Gulf who are more hawkish than conservative predecessors given more to cautious, consensual policymaking.

While the dispute could end up costing Qatar dearly, it also has implications for the Saudis and Emiratis whose activism, critics say, is fueling uncertainty in an already unstable neighborhood and could even push the region towards all-out conflict with arch-enemy Iran.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar two weeks ago, accusing it of supporting terrorism, meddling in other countries' affairs and cozying up to Iran, all of which Qatar denies.

Mediation efforts, including by the United States, have been fruitless.

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