As several Arab countries have snapped diplomatic ties with Qatar, the energy-rich monarchy now faces acute economic plight. According to a Reuters report, the country relies on Gulf neighbours for 80 percent of food imports and its largest suppliers are UAE and Saudi Arabia. The report said that Qatar, which is an import-dependent country, is now in talks with Iran and Turkey to secure food and water supplies amid concerns of possible shortages. An official has been quoted as saying that Doha is in talks with Turkey and Iran and other countries and the supplies would be brought in using Qatar Airways cargo flights.
On June 5, several countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain had severed diplomatic ties with Qatar. These countries have accused it of backing Iran and Islamist groups including Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile, Qatar responded by saying that it does not support terrorism, and the diplomatic rift was based on “baseless fabricated claims.” If the reports of Qatar being in talks with Iran and Turkey are true, and if it moves closer to these countries due to the isolation, it may change the politics in the Middle East. Incidentally, both Iran and Tehran have reportedly said that they will be glad to compensate for Qatar’s isolation.
While Turkey has said that it is ready to resolve the dispute, Iran has said that it will provide food to Qatar. It remains to be seen if the pressure by the Arab alliance could convince Qatar in seeking closer relations with Iran and Turkey. If that happens there may be a possibility that the country could leave GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) too, according to various analysts.
Iran has long been considered an adversary by many nations in the Gulf. Last year, Qatar had even called back its ambassador to the country giving rise to a major rift between the countries. But in the last few months, there has been a relationship growing between Qatar and Iran, evident by the fact that Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani while conversing with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, had said that he wanted better bilateral relations between the nations. Qatar and Iran together manage the world’s largest gas field called South Pars, hence a friendship could also affect the US’ relations in the Gulf.