End boycott Qatar seems in sight, what consequences has it had?


3.5 years, Qatar was isolated by four neighbouring countries: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. The official reason: the very rich emirate would have links with terrorist groups and too many relations with Iran. In reality, the neighbouring countries think that Qatar is too powerful. The four countries therefore came up with a list of requirements. If Qatar did not meet that, the country would be boycotted.

Yesterday, the first step was made towards a solution to the conflict. Saudi Arabia wants to open the land border and the states concerned are allowing aircraft from Qatar back into the airspace.

This afternoon, the Arab leaders met to discuss the peace negotiations – successfully. Upon arrival in Saudi Arabia, the emir of Qatar was given a hug by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It‘s like nothing’s happened in the last few years. But what did 3.5 years of blockade actually bring about?

โ€œ It has cost a lot of money and frustration on both sides,โ€ says correspondent Daisy Mohr. โ€œEspecially on the side of Qatar, the frustration was great.โ€

Qatar felt stabbed in the back, but from that frustration the country has also drawn strength. โ€œIf you don‘t want us, we’ll do it ourselves, โ€œwas the thought. Qatar initially imported an estimated 80 percent of the goods; many products came through the only national border Qatar has from Saudi Arabia, so there was a huge gap. But Qatar is a rich country; it could take the blows well. โ€œOnce you have the money, you can fly into millions of cows and produce milk yourself, grow your own apples and other crops,โ€ says Mohr.

โ€œFeeling of togetherness greater than everโ€

Daisy Mohr was in Qatar when the boycott went into. โ€œIt was striking how many Qatari‘s suddenly came up with all sorts of innovative ideas. Airplanes full of cows were flown in at lightning speed to produce dairy itself in the desert; one after the other creative plan got off the ground at a rapid pace. Made in Qatar quickly became a household name. A new portrait of the emir appeared everywhere in Doha on buildings and in offices. The feeling of togetherness and nationalistic feelings among the Qatari was greater than ever before.โ€

Iran and Turkey also immediately helped the emirate. โ€œPlanes full of food and medical equipment went there. Initially, there were empty shelves, but that was quickly resolved. They didn’t do bad. The boycott became a wake-up call; Qatar could never become so dependent on the rest again. It was fascinating to see.โ€

โ€œNo winners, only losers.โ€

Kuwait and the United States have played a key role behind the scenes in the current peace negotiations, Mohr says. โ€œStability in the Gulf Cooperation Council (a covenant of six Gulf States, red.) is very important for the region. Actually, there are no winners in this story, just losers.โ€

Mohr emphasises that many details of today‘s agreement are still unclear. โ€œThe first steps have been taken. But in the coming time, we will have to see if there are conditions and what they mean. And how the United Arab Emirates stands in it.โ€ That country didn’t participate in the talks.

The rapprochement with neighbouring countries is a start, but they are still far from being there. Opening the airspace for Qatar is important in any case, says Mohr. โ€œQatar Airways is a major airline. They fly all over the world, but because of the boycott they had to make all kinds of detours to get to destinationsโ€.

The boycott also caused families to be torn apart. People who lived across the border in Saudi Arabia suddenly couldn‘t go to family in Qatar and vice versa. โ€œThe situation was ideal for no one. It is going to take some time before the relationship between the countries is really restored. Trust has gone, there has been a lot of hatred over and over in recent years and there has been a media war going on. It’s definitely going to take time to forget all that.โ€