Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have recently announced a cut in diplomatic relations with Qatar. According to them, the breakdown of relations was based on Qatari’s alleged support for jihadists, notably those of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (Daesh).
In recent days the diplomatic crisis has intensified with an ultimatum to Doha by the Gulf’s Arab neighbours, with a list of 13 demands. The ultimatum includes the demand for the closure of the al-Jazeera television channel as well as a military base in Turkey, and the reduction of diplomatic links with Iran. Qatar’s response, voiced by its foreign affairs minister, was the utter rejection of the ultimatum. From Doha’s point of view, this is a violation of the country’s sovereignty, and therefore is “unacceptable”.
Let us now look at this issue of the Gulf from another perspective. Qatar is one of the world’s largest producers of natural gas. Recently it announced the increase of the production by 30%, becoming the world’s largest exporter of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas). In the coming decades LNG seems to be a very valid (perhaps the main) alternative to oil. If this trend is confirmed, it means that in the coming years we will see the fall in the price of oil in favour of natural gas.
We know the importance of oil to nations like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It is precisely these countries that are at the forefront against Qatar in the latest Gulf crisis. In this tactical ‘game’, the position of the major oil companies (ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, etc.) seems relatively ambiguous. Although there are pressures from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, these companies have very relevant interests in Qatar, strategically positioned in the production of LNG, taking into account its growing relevance in the world energy market.
And so we have reached this point. On the one hand, a political and religious-based ultimatum, based on a presumed support from Qatar to Daesh. On the other, a complex tactical game that involves control of the world’s major energy sources.
Given what I mentioned earlier, and if we add a few other data to the equation (for example, Saudi Arabia’s current budget deficit), I am led to conclude that, once again in the History of Mankind, religion is the ideal pretext to justify a conflict that will have no other objective but to conquer economic power. The centuries go by, but the most important things stay the same. Unfortunately for all of us.
Till next post!
UWU Solutions CEO / Consultant / Lecturer