Bobby Ghosh /Bloomberg: Qatar may
be about to annoy Saudi Arabia even more
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Quitting OPEC won't mean very much.
Quitting the Gulf Cooperation Council would have far costlier repercussions.
Qatar's surprise decision to leave OPEC , announced for maximum effect ahead of the organization's meeting this week in Vienna, has inevitably raised questions about whether it might also quit the Gulf Cooperation Council. The GCC's annual summit is Dec. 9 in Riyadh, and a similar announcement would undoubtedly irritate and embarrass Saudi Arabia. Tempting as this might be, the Qataris would do well to stay put.
The explanations offered by Qatar for its withdrawal from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries after 57 years could easily — indeed, more convincingly — be used to justify an exit from the GCC.
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, Qatar's former prime minister, has tweeted that OPEC “is only being used for purposes aimed at harming our national interest .” That goes double for the GCC, where two of its six members — Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — are prime movers in the economic blockade of Qatar. (The blockade has been going on for 18 months and counting, and it stems from Saudi accusations that Qatar is destabilizing the region by cozying up to Iran, charges Doha contests.)
The inability of the GCC to resolve the dispute has underscored the council's limitations. Qatar may now believe that it has nothing materially to gain from continued membership.
But here's the twist: Exiting OPEC, a powerful cartel with a real impact on world affairs, will cost Qatar little, being a minor- league oil producer with little influence on the group's decisions ; leaving the GCC, an ineffectual grouping that has little impact on regional affairs, could cost it a lot. If Qatar were to pull out, it would reinforce the Saudi-Emirati claim that the ruling family in Doha is undermining the Arab consensus. Staying in the alliance allows Qatar to signal that it is committed to regional cooperation, putting the onus for ending the blockade on the Saudis and Emiratis.
It is always possible that the Saudis and Emiratis will try to beat Qatar to the punch and kick it out of the GCC. But that would require them to convince Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain, the three other members, to go along. While Bahrain tends to follow Saudi Arabia in most matters, Kuwait and Oman have chafed at what they regard as Saudi bullying, and they have remained steadfastly neutral on the blockade. (The Kuwaitis have said they'd like to see efforts to resolve the “long-standing Gulf dispute” at the summit next week.)
More important, any attempt to expel Qatar would not go down well in Washington. The U.S. regards Arab unity as essential to confronting Iran; President Donald Trump is keen to create an " Arab NATO. " To that end, the Trump administration would like the Saudis to improve relations with Qatar , not further the estrangement .
Of course, being forced to put up with Qatar in the GCC would irritate the Saudis to no end — reason enough for the Qataris to want to stay.
We invite you to join us as a sponsor. Circulated Videos, Articles, Opinions and Reports which carry your name and brand are used to target Entrepreneurs through our site, promoting your organization’s services. The opportunity is to insert in our stories pages short attention-grabbing videos, or to publish your own feature stories.
Bobby Ghosh is a columnist and member of the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board. He writes on foreign affairs, with a special focus on the Middle East and the wider Islamic world. Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published by Bloomberg Dic. 04, 2018. All comments posted and published on Petroleumworld, do not reflect either for or against the opinion expressed in the comment as an endorsement of Petroleumworld.
Use Notice: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of issues of environmental and humanitarian significance. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
PW 300.000 plus request per week
Hit your target - Advertise with us
All works published by Petroleumworld are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
Petroleumworld has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Petroleumworld endorsed or sponsored by the originator. Petroleumworld encourages persons to reproduce, reprint, or broadcast Petroleumworld articles provided that any such reproduction identify the original source, http://www.petroleumworld.com or else and it is done within the fair use as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated. Petroleumworld Copyright© 1999-2018 Petroleumworld or respective author or news agency. All rights reserved.
We welcome the use of Petroleumworld™ stories by anyone provided it mentions Petroleumworld.com as the source. Other stories you have to get authorization by its authors. Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated.
Petroleumworld welcomes your feedback and comments, share your thoughts on this article, your feedback is important to us!
Petroleumworld News 12 /05 /2018
We invite all our readers to share with us
their views and comments about this article.
Send this story to a friend
Write to email@example.com
By using this link, you agree to allow PW
to publish your comments on our letters page.
Any question or suggestions,
please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Best Viewed with IE 5.01+ Windows NT 4.0, '95,
'98,ME,XP, Vista, Windows 7,8 +/ 800x600 pixels