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Kuwait ruler says Qatar crisis could herald GCC breakup

Sheikh Sabah al-Sabah has warned of a possible GCC breakup [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 October, 2017

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Kuwait ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Sabah has warned that the GCC alliance could fall apart due to the ongoing diplomatic crisis over the Qatar blockade.
Kuwait ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Sabah has warned members of the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] that the union could fall apart due to an ongoing diplomatic crisis between some member states and Qatar.

Sabah said that the current blockade on Qatar by a Saudi-led alliance risks escalating and could result in the end of the GCC's 36-year-old alliance.

"Contrary to our wishes and hopes, the Gulf crisis has the potential of escalating. Therefore, all of us must be fully aware of its potential consequences," Sabah told parliament, according to Al Jazeera.

"Any escalation will bring with it an outright call for regional and international intervention, which will destroy the security of the Gulf and its people."

The crisis began in June when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt launched a blockade on Qatar accusing Doha of supporting extremist groups.

Deadlock ensued with Qatar appearing unwilling to submit to the Saudi-led bloc's demands, leaving many questioning what the next step might be.

The GCC's two remaining states - Oman and Kuwait - have remained neutral in the impasse.

Kuwait has taken a lead role in trying to bring about a resolution between the two sides, with the mediation role Sabah recognised in his speech.

"We are not a third party in this crisis. Rather, we are a party of one with the other two brother-nations in this crisis."

The GCC was established in 1981 between oil-rich Gulf nations to encourage economic and political cooperation between the members at a time of security concerns in the region.

Neighbouring republics Iraq and Iran were embroiled in a fierce war that flowed into the Gulf's waters. Later, Kuwait was invaded by Saddam Hussein's Iraq leading to the so-called Gulf War.

The scenario of war is something Kuwait is keen to avoid.

History and the future generations of Arabs will not forget those who contributed to the escalation of the conflict and caused the destruction of the Gulf

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