2014: A year of unprecedented Gulf rift

The six member Gulf Cooperation Council had a difficult year however the crisis now appears to be easing.

2014: A year of unprecedented Gulf rift
World Bulletin / News Desk
The year 2014 witnessed the worst-ever rift within the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain breaking with neighboring statelet Qatar, although the crisis now appears to be easing.

In mid-November, the Gulf trio sent their respective ambassadors back to Doha, eight months after they had collectively pulled them from the Qatari capital.

Some observers have linked the rift to Qatar's staunch support for the administration of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood group.

Powerhouse Saudi Arabia and the UAE had been among the first countries to welcome Morsi's ouster by the military following massive opposition protests against his rule and have provided billions of dollars to shore up Egypt's struggling economy.

Since Morsi's ouster, Qatar has been critical of the Egyptian government and has hosted Brotherhood supporters who fled an as-yet-ongoing crackdown on the group in Egypt, prompting a diplomatic row with Egypt and its Gulf allies.

The ambassadors' return to Qatar had preceded a December GCC summit in Doha, during which member states had expressed their support for President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi – the former army chief who played a key role in Morsi's overthrow – and Egypt's post-Morsi transitional "roadmap."

Earlier this month, al-Sisi met with a special envoy dispatched by Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Cairo to discuss a Saudi-backed reconciliation deal.

Prior to the diplomatic row that began in March, Qatar had run up against the UAE in February after Doha-based Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi lashed out at the countries that backed Egypt's army-backed authorities.

To protest al-Qaradawi's statements, the UAE had summoned the Qatari ambassador in a move unprecedented in the history of Gulf relations.

And in August of this year, Bahrain had accused Qatar of harming its national security by "luring" Bahraini nationals into taking Qatari citizenship. Doha, for its part, dismissed the allegations.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Aralık 2014, 23:31