Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Smart Diplomacy?

We're getting closer to Qatar meeting demands of Saudi-led coalition angry with Qatar's too-friendly relations with Sunni jihadis and Iran that doesn't involve an open capitulation by Qatar.

Well, good:

The United States and Qatar signed an agreement on Tuesday aimed at combating the financing of terrorism, as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Doha to try to end a month-long rift between Western-allied Arab states.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar last month, accusing it of financing extremist groups and allying with the Gulf Arab states' arch-foe Iran, allegations Doha denies.

Add in some agreement that distances Qatar from Iran a bit more, and Saudi Arabia will call it a win and a day and end the confrontation.

America has a large base at Udeid Air Base in Qatar. And has an interest in Qatar having worse relations with Sunni jihadis and Iran.

Let's hope that this turns out to be Smart Diplomacy.

UPDATE: Talking:

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met ministers from four Arab states on Wednesday to try to end a dispute with Qatar after the countries labeled a U.S.-Qatari terrorism financing accord an inadequate response to their concerns.

I assume this will be settled to everyone's dissatisfaction, eventually.

UPDATE: Higher level talks:

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke by phone with Saudi King Salman on Friday to discuss efforts to resolve the month-long dispute between Qatar and four Gulf Arab states, the White House said.

Perhaps I should be more worked up about this crisis. But I suspect talks will sort this out and bring Qatar back into the Arab world in semi-good standing.

UPDATE: And yes, Qatar really does need to get off the fence.

Of course, we and our allies have to give Qatar a reason to believe it is safe to get off that fence. Will we be there in the long term to help Qatar against jihadis and Iran if they climb down on our side?

There's a reason they are on the fence, after all.