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Iran-Qatar diplomacy raises international concern

by Breonnah Colon - Campus Talk Editor
Wed, Sep 6th 2017 12:00 am

International relations between countries in the Middle East may not exactly be at the forefront of most American minds, especially if talk of terrorism on American soil isn't the topic of conversation. However, that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be, especially since the leaders of this diverse nation love to have ties to different countries in order to help their own country flourish. The Middle East serves the U.S. population in many ways most Americans probably aren't even aware of; oil for fuel is merely one of those things. We should pay a little more attention to what goes on around the world, if not to keep up on how we may be impacted, then at least we'd sound politically competent to our friends and coworkers.

So what's new in the Middle East? Over the summer, something pretty big took place: Saudi Arabia, along with Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates completely cut ties with Qatar, shutting down borders, airspace and ports to the country as well as forcing Qatari citizens out of their respective countries to go back home. According to an article posted on cnn titled "Qatar rift: Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt cut diplomatic ties," this was done due to allegations that Qatar had ties to terrorist groups, which caused a threat to the entire region.

While the situation for Qatar seemed dire, the blockade didn't solely impact the citizens of that country. Lo and behold, the U.S. also has ties to the nation. 

In fact, according to CNBC, "The U.S. has located one of its largest air base operations in the desert outside the Qatari capital of Doha which is home to close to 11,000 U.S. military personnel."

To make matters worse, President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia earlier this summer and made a financially impactful deal with the Saudi King. He sold $110 billion worth of U.S. weaponry to the country according to a CNBC article titled, "US-Saudi Arabia seal weapons deal worth nearly $110 billion immediately, $350 billion over 10 years."

A few weeks later, Saudi Arabia cut ties with Qatar. But wait, there's more: at the end of August, Qatar made news headlines again, this time for restoring ties with Iran, a country which does not get along well with Saudi Arabia in the least. Oh, and did I mention Saudi Arabia is kind of a powerhouse of the Middle East?

What it all comes down to is Qatar refusing to meet the terms set by the countries that have shut it out and has pretty much publicly announced it is siding with the exact same country which it has been asked to sever ties with in the first place. 

An article posted on The Washington Post, titled "Qatar restores diplomatic ties with Iran despite demands by Arab neighbors," explained that Qatar's foreign ministry released a statement that said, "The State of Qatar expressed its aspiration to strengthen bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in all fields."

Now remember, the U.S. has political ties with both Qatar and Saudi Arabia and quite a history with Iran, which isn't exactly what most would consider friendly and peaceful. 

Best-case scenario, these countries will be able to settle their diplomatic differences peacefully and tensions will diminish, but that doesn't seem to be the current discourse taking place. 

Worst-case scenario: tension between the countries will continue to rise until a breaking point is reached, in which an all-out war may ensue. A war, which may very well include, or at least affect, the United States.

So, while the Middle East may seem to be a whole world away, it could have a very big impact on our own homeland. Stay tuned; our Middle Eastern neighbors affect us a lot more than you may think.

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