Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is to blame for both Qatar’s isolation and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
When the Saudi-led siege against Qatar took hold in June last year, Middle East experts were under the impression it would quickly resolve itself. However, nearly 18-months later Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, continue their blockade.
The recent events surrounding the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have done little to project an image of a progressive country led by a new ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In fact, the country has been severely damaged, and with the prince himself involved in the outrageous murder plot, rumors persist that King Salman will replace his son as leader of the nation.
The crown prince praised Qatar’s economy in a rare conciliatory remark and predicted that it would do well over the coming years, during an investment forum held in the kingdom.
Bloomberg suggests that this comment is the first sign of a possible thaw, suggesting the kingdom is eager to regain international goodwill after acknowledging Khashoggi’s death at their hands.
Let’s take a look at how Khashoggi’s killing relates to Qatar’s isolation.
The crown prince is to blame for both Qatar’s isolation and the murder of Khashoggi. Critics of the Saudi-led boycott of Qatar, including Khashoggi, have said it backfired. Qatar’s perceived closeness with Iran helped prompt the severing of ties, but the rupture only drove Qatar into a closer relationship with Saudi Arabia’s main rival for regional dominance.
During the investment forum held in the kingdom on October 24th, the crown prince said even “Qatar, despite our differences with them, has a very strong economy.” This is quite clearly a comment made in light of mounting international pressure on the prince following Khashoggi‘s murder. Just a few months earlier, Saudi Arabia was pressing ahead with plans to dig a canal along its border with Qatar and turn the country from a peninsula into an island.
Scrutiny of Prince Mohammed’s actions, from Khashoggi’s murder, punishing Saudi activists to escalating the war in Yemen and imposing the embargo on Qatar, have raised major concerns across the international community, especially within the United States. The criticism has become so intense of late that rumors are rife that he will be replaced as Saudi Arabia’s leader.
Qatar has weathered the Saudi-led siege well. It’s one of the world’s wealthiest nations and its economy has remained resilient. The events over the past 18-months have proven that Qatar doesn’t need Saudi Arabia, but over recent weeks events have certainly proven that the kingdom needs the support of not only the West but its neighbors. The saga continues.