CAIRO — Qatar has appointed a brand new ambassador to Egypt, taking one other step nearer to the Arab nation.
The July 29 move by Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani brings Qatari diplomatic illustration again to Cairo, for the primary time for the reason that two nations agreed to fix fences in Saudi Arabia early this 12 months.
The unfolding Egyptian-Qatari detente is an element of a bigger reconciliation course of between Qatar and what got here to be referred to as the Arab Quartet, which additionally accommodates — aside from Egypt — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
The 4 nations severed diplomatic and commerce ties with Qatar in June 2017 in protest of Qatari interference of their inner affairs and its assist of political Islam, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, the motion of Egypt’s late Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, which has a number of ideological offshoots within the Arab Peninsula and North Africa.
Beneath the severing of relations lay the ideological alliances that have been forming within the area on the time, with Qatar becoming a member of Turkey, one other state sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood, towards the regional anti-political Islam bloc.
Qatari political analysts consider that the appointment of an envoy in Egypt will enhance communication with Cairo and contribute to fixing a few of the points between the 2 nations.
“The appointment of a Qatari ambassador in Egypt shows that relations between the two countries are moving on the right track,” Qatari political analyst Jaber al-Harmi advised Al-Monitor. “It also shows the presence of a common ground between them.” He expects Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Emir Tamim to fulfill quickly.
The appointment of an envoy to Egypt by Qatar comes solely a month after Sisi appointed an ambassador to Doha. Delegations from the 2 nations have met to debate contentious points between them, together with Qatari interference in Egyptian affairs, Qatari assist for the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatari media assaults towards Egypt.
Relations between the 2 nations turned bitter with the rebellion towards Morsi in Egypt in mid-2013.
Cairo accuses Qatari media shops together with the information station Al Jazeera to dwelling on negatives of their intensive protection of Egyptian affairs.
Al Jazeera can also be accused of turning into a platform for Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian secular opposition figures who had fled Egypt following the downfall of the Morsi regime and sought refuge in Qatar.
In December 2014, the station needed to shut its Cairo workplace, which had hosted each the principle Al Jazeera information channel and Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, a subsidiary created in 2011 to cowl Egypt. Following the closure, Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr relocated to Doha. It continues to function specializing in Egypt.
Qatar additionally opposed Egypt’s positions in regional hotspots equivalent to Libya, the japanese Mediterranean and Africa.
Nevertheless, a change of coronary heart is seemingly taking place in Doha.
In May, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman visited Cairo for the primary time in 4 years.
He described the Arab nation as a “main” energy within the area and the Egyptian authorities as a “respectable” one which was elected by the Egyptian individuals, bucking a pattern by Qatari and Qatar-sponsored media shops of describing Sisi’s authorities as one which got here to energy by means of a “military coup.”
A month later, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry reciprocated by visiting Doha, bearing an invite from Sisi to Emir Tamim to go to Egypt “as soon as possible.”
Analysts say the reconciliation measures between Cairo and Doha are a small element within the bigger image of efforts by the Arab Quartet to attract Qatar away from the Turkish and Iranian orbits.
“Iran and Turkey are a growing threat to the security of the four states, especially with the two countries using political groups and militias affiliated with them in destabilizing these states,” worldwide relations researcher Mohamed Rabie al-Dehi advised Al-Monitor.
Doha solidified its relations with each Turkey and Iran much more quickly after Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain closed their shared borders with Qatar and blocked their airspaces to Qatari planes. Qatari relations with the 2 nations went past the financial to navy cooperation, together with the development of a Turkish navy base in Qatar, bringing the Turkish military to the Arab Peninsula for the primary time in years and really near the borders of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.
“The presence of Turkish troops in Qatar is a direct threat to security in the Gulf region,” al-Dehi mentioned. “This is especially clear with Turkey having ambitions to increase its influence in the region.”
Much extra worrying have been the Qatari-Iranian ties, with predominantly Shiite Iran standing reverse predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia, which considers Iran and its rising affect in quite a few regional states a direct risk to its safety.
Egypt can also be anxious about rising Iranian affect within the area, particularly in Yemen, the place the presence of the Iran-backed Houthi militia near the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait threatens navigation within the southern entrance of the ocean and consequently the Suez Canal, a spine of the Egyptian economic system.
Egypt, which introduced the Brotherhood down and outlawed it in 2014, is a serious driving drive towards this Islamist motion and political Islam generally.
Qatar, alternatively, might discover it arduous to relinquish assist for the political present after having invested so closely in it.
The hole between the 2 sides on this problem is obvious within the place every has adopted towards ongoing developments in Tunisia, the epicenter of the Arab Spring the place the fortunes of the Muslim Brotherhood have been reversed on July 25.
On that day, Tunisia’s President Kais Saied dissolved his nation’s Brotherhood-dominated parliament and sacked the cupboard, shattering 11 years of political good points by the Islamist motion in Tunisia.
Egypt’s place is turning into direct assist for Saied, whereas Qatar is pushing for dialogue between the Tunisian president and his nation’s political forces, together with Ennahda, referred to as the Muslim Brotherhood’s celebration in Tunisia.
The Qatari press has already began softening its criticism of Sisi’s authorities. However, Qatar continues to supply refuge to a whole bunch of Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist figures wished by Cairo.
“I believe the handover of these figures to Egypt … will take time for the two countries to reach consensus on,” Mohamed al-Rashidi, a member of the Committee on Foreign Relations within the Egyptian Senate, advised Al-Monitor. “Egypt is primarily interested in stopping Qatari interference in its affairs as well as incitement by Qatari media against it and I think some progress is happening in the two areas.”