Towards stability and diplomacy… How has Qatar changed the course of US relations in the Middle East?

Video duration 21 minutes 39 seconds

Joseph Cirincione, a member of the US Secretary of State’s Advisory Council on International Security, said that the major issues discussed at the US-Qatari summit constitute a fundamental shift in Washington’s relations in the Middle East.

In his interview with “Beyond the News” program (1/2/2022), Cirincione considered that reducing the military presence in the region indicates the transfer of military relations to diplomatic, commercial and political partnerships.

In the event of a new agreement on the Iranian nuclear file, he expected that there would be a fundamental shift in the region towards diplomacy and away from conflict, noting that America is also trying to solve the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan without the need for arms.

The US spokesman indicated that Qatar’s role goes beyond transmitting messages between Iran and America, praising Doha’s efforts to revive the nuclear agreement as it represents a factor of stability in the region.

He explained that Iran needs economic recovery – according to him – by returning America to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to lift sanctions, return to trade exchanges, and ensure stability in the region.

Qatari mediation

In turn, Abdullah Al-Shayji, professor of political science at Kuwait University, considered that there is a clear shift in the US administration from improvisation during the period of former US President Donald Trump, and America’s quest to upgrade its relationship with Qatar as a reliable ally that performed many tasks that America considers strategic, especially as it played a role pivotal in the Afghan crisis.

He said that Qatar plays the role of mediator between Iran and America, noting that both parties expressed an explicit desire for direct negotiations thanks to the Qatari role in bringing views closer and overcoming difficulties so that Iran would not be a nuclear state as it was in the past, as well as lifting sanctions on it to revive its economy.

Al-Shayji ruled out the possibility of a Gulf-Iranian dialogue, due to the absence of a Gulf consensus towards Iran. There is a need to build common ground and Tehran to show its good intentions regarding its interventions in the region and build confidence in its positions, statements and allies.

In his first meeting with a Gulf leader since taking power last year, US President Joe Biden discussed with the Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, a number of issues and files that occupy the region and threaten its security.

According to identical statements from both sides, the meeting – after which the US President officially informed Congress of Qatar’s designation as a major non-NATO ally of the United States – touched on developments in Afghanistan, security in the Gulf and the Middle East, and the stability of global energy supplies, as well as a number of regional issues. Others, including the rights of the Palestinian people and the developments of the nuclear agreement with Iran.

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