Wednesday, June 12, 2013

OA: "Syria deals blow to Qatar's foreign policy ambitions"

"... Saudi assumption of leadership on Syria signifies a major setback to Qatar's ambition to become a regional power. Qatar's Syria policy has been undermined by the lack of institutional capability to underpin personalised decision-making processes. Riyadh will intensify efforts to marginalise the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, but lack of sufficient oversight or follow-through will mean that unregulated transfers of weaponry and money to groups of Syrian rebels will continue.
... Opposition leaders in Syria reported in early May that the Syrian dossier was now in the hands of Saudi Arabia ... Although Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani have been the most prominent Arab supporters of the Syrian revolution, their close ties with the Brotherhood have been harshly criticised by other opposition leaders and the international community..., ..., ... The anti-Brotherhood backlash is an indicator of Qatar's falling stock in Syria. After rallying the international community to oust Muammar al-Qadhafi in Libya in 2011, the emir sought to do the same in Syria ...  Qatar's attempt to repeat its Libya strategy failed in Syria. It encountered strong resistance in the Arab League, particularly from Iraq, Lebanon and Algeria. The failure of an Arab League observer mission to halt the violence was a blow to the emir's pledge to seek 'Arab solutions to Arab problems'....The inability of Qatar's leaders to bring down the Assad regime is a damaging blow to their aspirations for regional leadership....  Its policy of identifying and 'picking winners' among Islamist groups in North Africa and Syria has come under intense scrutiny and criticism.... Qatar (Like Saudia) lacks the institutional depth to underpin the actions of its leaders with credible processes of monitoring, evaluation, and follow-through.Saudi Arabia and Qatar share a common objective in toppling the Assad regime. Where their interests diverge is in what happens next. Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood is strongly opposed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Both Doha and Riyadh aspire to be regional leaders, and have extended support to groups in Syria and elsewhere on that basis. Their rivalry will continue on a more covert basis despite Qatari acceptance of the Saudi lead on Syria.Qatar's overreach in Syria exposes the constraints of small states in international politics. Personalised networks and transfers of money have fuelled resentment among competing opposition factions and left Qatar vulnerable to accusations of recklessly buying favour and influence. The assumption of Saudi leadership may overcome some of these diplomatic limitations, but entrenched political factions will not easily be dislodged..."

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