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Saudi Arabia wants to undermine Qatar’s independence: Analyst

A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on May 21, 2017, shows Saudi's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (C) and US President Donald Trump (C-L) attending a Persian Gulf Cooperation Council meeting at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center in Riyadh. (Photo by AFP)

Saudi Arabia along with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain has presented a list of 13 demands to Qatar in return for ending the blockade of the country. Doha has described the demands as unrealistic and said it would negotiate with the four Arab nations if they lift the imposed blockade on Qatar. To discuss the issue, Press TV has interviewed Naseer al-Omari, writer and political commentator from New York, and James Jatras, former US Senate foreign policy analyst from Washington.

Omari said Saudi Arabia, supported by its allies, is trying to put pressure on Qatar in order to force it to accept the Saudi guardianship on the country.

“Qatar is being asked to give up its sovereignty and its independence, they’re being asked to give up Al Jazeera, which is the equivalent of their soft power and they’re asked to agree to guardianship by the Saudis to determine which countries they can have relationships with and which countries they cannot,” the analyst said on Friday night.

According to Omari, it would not be surprising that the Qataris turn down the requests and the situation can “escalate” between the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf.

The commentator went on to say that Qatar has tried to find allies in the region because the tiny country is concerned about the Saudi intervention.

So, Doha is playing with the cards of the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey to counter Saudi Arabia, because Qatar is aware that the Riyadh regime is not easy with the expansion of power of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region, he noted.

Elsewhere, he pointed to the role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the tension between Doha and Riyadh, noting that the young prince does not have the experience to recognize the current situation of the region.

A handout photo made available by the Saudi press Agency (SPA) late on June 21, 2017, shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sitting as royal family members and other official pledge allegiance to him, at the Royal Palace in Mecca. (Photo by AFP)

Omari also expressed concern that “the Trump administration is fueling the enthusiasm of this young prince, which will influence Saudi Arabia negatively” and the new crown prince is getting his country into deeper quagmire.

He referred to the Saudis’ demand from Qatar to stop supporting the Palestinian resistance, describing the request as “Trump’s agenda.”

Meanwhile, Jatras said that both the Qataris and the Saudis are endangering their own security and stability because their plots to destabilize the region will affect their future.

Saudi Arabia has asked Qatar to stop supporting Daesh and al-Qaeda, while the Saudis are the flag-bearer of backing the terrorist groups and Qataris could also ask the same question of the Riyadh regime, he added.

The analyst also explained that Saudi Arabia thinks the US will support all moves made by Riyadh, while in fact the Americans pursue their own agenda in the region.

“Mohammed bin Salman thinks he has a blank check from President [Donald] Trump and he has acted accordingly,” but the US administration plays a bigger game, Jatras said.

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