MNA – Professor Hossein Askari, an expert on Saudi Arabia who also teaches international business at the George Washington University, believes that the PGCC has always been a Saudi ‘thing’ with a number of countries simply hanging on.
“But now it is rapidly becoming more a Saudi-Emirati ‘thing’. Qatar and Oman are on the outs and I believe that Kuwait may begin to distance itself little by little,” Hossein Askari, who served as special advisor to Saudi finance minister, tells the Tehran Times.
He adds that “with the excesses of MBS, it is doomed to the trash heap of history.”
Following is the text of the interview:
The Persian Gulf Cooperation Council’s (PGCC) annual summit was held in Riyadh while the Qatari Emir and the Sultan of Oman refrained from joining. What are the reasons behind their refusal?
In the case of Qatar, the reason is straightforward. The Emir could not attend simply because the Saudi embargo is akin to a declaration of war. Saudi Arabia has to begin discussions to lift the embargo before Qatar can attend a PGCC meeting. The Sultan of Oman has always been somewhat apart from Saudi Arabia. It has tried to be a mediator. The Sultan has disagreed with the embargo on Qatar and behind the scenes with the policies of MBS. This was a meeting the Sultan could not attend.
Qatar left OPEC and according to some reports, it might break up with PGCC. Do you think that Qatar will leave the PGCC?
No. Qatar will not do anything. It will simply wait and see what MBS does. There is a lot of pressure on MBS from the US and Europe. The Emir can simply wait and see MBS cave under international pressure and pressure from Turkey and lift the embargo. If the Emir withdraws, he would give MBS an excuse and a free pass.
The PGCC failed to find a purely internal collective solution to the Qatar crisis. With regard to this failure, how do you see the future of PGCC?
The PGCC has always been a Saudi ‘thing’ with a number of countries simply hanging on. It was nothing more. But now it is rapidly becoming more a Saudi-Emirati ‘thing’. Qatar and Oman are on the outs and I believe that Kuwait may begin to distance itself little by little. But with the excesses of MBS, it is doomed to the trash heap of history. MBS will try to keep it going to save face but it is in a downward spiral.
In case of Qatar’s exit from PGCC, is there any possibility of a new alliance between Qatar and Turkey?
If Qatar leaves PGCC, and if as I have stated earlier, then yes, Qatar will develop a much stronger alliance with Turkey. And if Iran reduces its international rhetoric and after Trump’s exit develops better relations with the US, Qatar could have a loose alliance with Iran.