The Qatar Situation: Part I

On June 6th, several members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)1 announced a sweeping blockade of Qatar, also a member of the GCC. The GCC members enforcing the blockade, led by Saudi Arabia, issued a list of 13 demands which Qatar rejected.

Since the blockade was implemented, Qatar has managed to replenish basic foodstuffs that were initially stripped from store shelves as households rushed to hoard necessities. The emirate state has managed to fly in dairy cows from abroad which are now contentedly supplying milk from air conditioned barns in Qatar.

In the first part of this report, we will offer a short history of Qatar and examine its geopolitical imperatives. Next week, in Part II, we will analyze the events precipitating the blockade, the blockade itself, the GCC’s demands and the impact thus far on Qatar. We will examine how the situation has reached a stalemate and, as always, we will conclude with market ramifications.

A Short History of Qatar

Qatar is a peninsula nation that juts into the Persian Gulf. It shares a land border with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. As this map shows, it occupies a significant part of the Persian Gulf. It is also close to the island nation of Bahrain.

(Source: Wikipedia Commons)

The area of modern Qatar was part of two early kingdoms of Saudi Arabia. The first Saudi kingdom lasted from 1744 through 1818. The forces of the Ottoman Empire overthrew this first kingdom which was ruled by Muhammad ibn Saud. The al Sauds rose again in 1824 and created the second Saudi kingdom. This kingdom lasted until 1891, when internal conflicts within the al Sauds led to its demise.