How Qatar Crisis May Play Into Hands of Syrian President Assad

© AFP 2022 / JOSEPH EIDThe silhouette of a Syrian man is seen through an election campaign portrait of President Bashar al-Assad he hangs it on a billboard on May 11, 2014 in the capital Damascus.
The silhouette of a Syrian man is seen through an election campaign portrait of President Bashar al-Assad he hangs it on a billboard on May 11, 2014 in the capital Damascus. - Sputnik International
Retired Syrian Major General Muhammed Abbas told Sputnik that the Arab states row with Qatar may ultimately play into the hands of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

On June 5, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic relations with Qatar. The states accused Qatar of supporting terrorist groups, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist movement, as well as of interfering in other countries' domestic affairs. Yemen cut diplomatic relations citing Doha's links with Houthis.

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The Maldives, Mauritius, Mauritania and the eastern-based government in divided Libya also announced a break in relations with Doha, while Jordan and Djibouti said they would lower the level of diplomatic contacts with Qatar. Senegal and Chad recalled their ambassadors from Doha.

The Qatari Foreign Ministry rejected the accusations of Doha's interference in other countries' domestic affairs and expressed regret over the decision of the Gulf States to cut off the diplomatic ties with it.

According to the Syrian Maj. Gen., the Qatari crisis plays into the hands of the Syrian government as many armed Syrian rebel groups received aid from Qatar and now will face certain difficulties.

This opinion was echoed by Russian political analyst and Middle Eastern expert Karine Gevorgyan, who pointed out that Syrian rebels sponsored by Riyadh and Doha have suspended actions against Assad forces.

"Taking into account the complexity of the current situation in the Middle East, provocations are possible and combat actions may resume. Anti-Damascus groups sponsored by Saudi Arabia and Qatar have suspended their actions against the Syrian Army. But I can’t rule out that it was due to the Saudi-Qatar diplomatic crisis," Gevorgyan said in an interview with Radio Sputnik.

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General Muhammed Abbas told Sputnik Arabic that the reason of Qatar's "witch hunt" is the fact that Doha doesn't want fo finance US activity in the Middle East. He suggested that the problem escalated during the recent US President Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia. He suggested that Riyadh was probably asked to topple Qatari government replacing it with a more loyal to US policies.

Meanwhile, Yakov Kedmi, a retired high-ranking Israeli intelligence official, told Sputnik that the overthrow of Qatar’s royal family and, possibly, even the elimination of Qatar's statehood through its annexation to Saudi Arabia could be the endgame for Saudi Arabia in the recent diplomatic conflict.

"Even though the United States declared its neutrality, it is hard to believe that the developments of the recent days were not approved by Washington. I am not 100 percent sure what the main goal is. However, I think that it may be aimed, at a minimum, at changing Qatar's policy or overthrowing the royal family. As an extreme option, it could be aimed at the elimination of Qatar as an independent state and its annexation to Saudi Arabia," Kedmi said.

Abbas believes that Kuwait and Oman may try to reconcile Qatar with its Arab neighbors. However, it's difficult as certain players escalate situation "from the outside."

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