THE SIG­NIF­I­CANCE OF RE­CENT NE­GO­TI­A­TIONS FOR THE GULF CRI­SIS

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page - KILIÇ BUĞRA KANAT

THERE is no doubt that the Gulf cri­sis has al­ready shaken the del­i­cate bal­ances in the re­gion and left the Gulf vul­ner­a­ble to dif­fer­ent types of provo­ca­tions from the out­side as well

Last week, Ankara had im­por­tant vis­i­tors from the Gulf re­gion. First, the prime min­is­ter of Kuwait and then the emir of Qatar vis­ited the Turk­ish cap­i­tal and dis­cussed is­sues per­tain­ing to the most re­cent cri­sis in the Gulf re­gion. Al­though not much has been leaked to the press from these meet­ings, it is ob­vi­ous that de­spite the fail­ure of phone diplo­macy fa­cil­i­tated by U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump be­tween the crown prince of Saudi Ara­bia and the emir of Qatar, there is a con­tin­u­a­tion of ef­forts from coun­tries like Kuwait and Turkey, which have been try­ing to re­solve the cri­sis.

Of course, the suc­cess of the ef­forts of these coun­tries de­pends on the good­will and com­mit­ment of coun­tries in the re­gion as well. Fu­el­ing anger and mo­bi­liz­ing so­ci­eties against one an­other in an al­ready tu­mul­tuous re­gion, if not con­tained on time, may bring long-term chal­lenges for these so­ci­eties. The sit­u­a­tion has al­ready desta­bi­lized the re­gion and im­pacted the economies of the coun­tries. Al­though the coali­tion seems to un­der­stand the sit­u­a­tion they got into with their abrupt de­ci­sions, the Qatari govern­ment also started to suf­fer from the eco­nomic chal­lenges of the de­ci­sion. In the more medium and long-term, the cri­sis will not only im­pact the re­gional in­te­gra­tion process, which has been con­sid­ered very im­por­tant for coun­tries to bal­ance re­gional ri­vals and pro­vide se­cu­rity.

No doubt, the cri­sis has al­ready shaken del­i­cate bal­ances and left the Gulf vul­ner­a­ble to var­i­ous provo­ca­tions from out­side as well. Es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing that the last batch of the cri­sis in the Gulf was trig­gered fol­low­ing a con­tro­ver­sial, strange in­ci­dent of an al­leged quote by the emir of Qatar to a news agency, any form of desta­bi­liza­tion seems quite likely in the re­gion. Of course, it was only the trig­ger­ing fac­tor, but the emer­gence of such a cri­sis fol­low­ing a news agency re­port demon­strated the level of trust be­tween these coun­tries and the pos­si­ble spillover of such crises in the fu­ture.

Al­though the pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity for the problem that emerged be­tween these coun­tries should be­long to the states that failed to gen­er­ate strong re­gional in­sti­tu­tions and fo­rums for the res­o­lu­tion of dis­putes via di­a­logue, in this par­tic­u­lar cri­sis, it is im­por­tant to see the con­fu­sion caused by mixed mes­sages from the U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tion that played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the ac­tions of these states. Not only the pres­i­dent’s trip to Saudi Ara­bia, his state­ments and tweets also might have sig­nif­i­cantly em­bold­ened the coali­tion at the be­gin­ning of the crises.

It is true that mis­per­cep­tions are con­sid­ered as in­evitable and un­avoid­able parts of in­ter­na­tional dis­putes around the world to­day. How­ever, the ab­sences of a clear mes­sage at the be­gin­ning the cri­sis did not help de-es­ca­late the cri­sis. At this crit­i­cal junc­ture when coun­tries like Kuwait and Turkey try to help re­solve the crises, both par­ties in the dis­pute and the ma­jor out­side ac­tors, such as the United States, need to think about how they can bet­ter com­mu­ni­cate mes­sages and griev­ances in re­gards to par­tic­u­lar is­sue areas and how much more cre­ative they should get when re­solv­ing dis­putes be­fore adopt­ing dra­matic mea­sures such as em­bar­goes in the 21st cen­tury.

Kılıç Buğra Kanat

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