The 13 point ultimatum issued to Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE has been slashed in an prima facie climbdown against the small Persian Gulf state.
Gone are the provisions which would force Qatar to take its state-owned media including Al Jazeera off the air. Additionally, the threats to force an audit of Qatar’s compliance with the demands has been scrapped in addition to reparations payments and a 10 day timeline which expired in June of 2017.
The shortened list includes the broader demands for Qatar to cease interference in the internal affairs of foreign nations, a clause demanding that Doha ceases to fund what the new ultimatum’s authors deem to be terrorist groups and a clause forbidding Doha from harbouring terrorists on its soil.
Qatar’s ambassador to the United Nations, Alya bint Ahmed Al Thani has said that the rolling back of the list of demands is not a sign of good faith, but instead an attempt to save face.
In spite of dropping the more absurd demands, the fact that the Saudi led bloc of Arab League members feels it can impose demands on Qatar remains patently unacceptable to Doha as it would to just about any state.
While the Saudi’s have attempted to engage in a climbdown, they seem unaware that they are in no place to make demands on Qatar, not least because Saudi Arabia is among the world’s leading state sponsors of terrorist groups.
Likewise, Qatar, like any state in its position feels deeply insulted and has stated that it is willing to live with the reality of being isolated from its neighbours as well as Egypt rather than attempt to placate them.