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Saudi-Qatar Unity Is Latest Breakthrough in Middle East Peace Brokered by Trump Admin

01-05-2021
Photo Credit: Saudi Royal Court via AP
Photo Credit: Saudi Royal Court via AP

There's been another breakthrough in Middle East peace brokered by the Trump administration. Gulf leaders signed a “solidarity and stability” pact in Saudi Arabia at the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit on Tuesday. 

White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner was there for the ceremony and is credited with having helped negotiate the deal.

Saudi Arabia announced on Monday the reopening of airspace and land and sea borders with Qatar after a three-and-a-half-year argument. 

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain had cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting Islamist terror groups and cozying up to Iran.  Qatar had denied the allegations.

Qatar’s ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, arrived in Saudi for the landmark GCC summit and despite COVID-19 restrictions, hugged the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman.

The agreement is seen as a first step in bringing Qatar back into the fold and increasing leverage against Iran.

Dr. Nayef al-Hajraf, the Secretary-General of the GCC, said the deal reflects the efforts to ensure the success of the summit and that Gulf citizens were pinning their hopes on this move boosting the strength of the Council.

In an analysis in the Jerusalem Post, Middle East expert Seth Frantzman questioned whether “the push for stability in the region…will be cemented by this.  Will stability increase in places like Iraq or other areas?” he asked.

“Or it could be the calm before the storm as Iran, Hezbollah and their friends seek to capitalize and move forward with the instability they have spread in places such as Iraq,” he commented.

But Rabbi Marc Schneier, President of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, who has been working for years to bridge the gaps between the Muslim and Jewish worlds, sees the agreement as having even more far-reaching benefits

“The reunification of the GCC will only accelerate the process of normalization between the remaining Gulf States and Israel,” Schneier told CBN News in a statement.  Schneier is a friend of both the Emir of Qatar and the Saudi royal family. 

In what has become known as the Abraham Accords, four Muslim countries - the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco - have established diplomatic ties with Israel since August 2020.

“With a reunited GCC and the momentum on the side of Gulf-Israel normalization, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait will follow the lead of the UAE and Bahrain,” Schneier said.

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