Now, Qatar has a list.
On Thursday evening, news reports surfaced of 13 demands from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and four other nations that, if fulfilled by Doha, will resolve their ongoing standoff with the tiny Gulf nation. Among the more onerous demands appearing on the list, which may or may not be official, are that Qatar sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist movements in the Middle East, downgrade diplomatic relations with Iran, close all Al Jazeera affiliates and several other Qatar-funded media outlets, pay an unspecified sum in compensation for loss of life and damage caused by Qatari regional policies in recent years, and submit to regular monitoring for up to 12 years to ensure compliance.
By producing their list of demands, the Saudis and Emiratis are hoping to regain the momentum that they may have felt was slipping away. Placing so much emphasis on Qatar’s alleged ties to terrorism, they calculate, will play well with the White House, if not at State or the Pentagon.
Yet, the extent and scale of the demands appear designed to induce a rejection by Qatar, and a possible justification for a continuation, if not escalation, of the crisis. The list, if accurate, represents an intrusion into the internal affairs of Qatar that would threaten its very sovereignty. Because Qatar forms a cornerstone of the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, America has a stake both in its domestic security and regional stability. So, too, do the emerging and industrial economies around the world that rely heavily on its liquefied natural gas exports, whose security would be imperiled in the event of a full-blown crisis in Doha.