Qatar has in recent years aligned itself with Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood in what increasingly seems like a regional rivalry between three overarching camps: a Qatari/Turkish/Brotherhood bloc, an Iranian-led bloc that includes Syria and Hezbollah, and a bloc made up of Israel and key U.S. Arab allies.
In some countries – Syria is the most obvious example – the three camps are openly opposed to each other. In other arenas – and here Egypt has been and continues to be an interesting example – there are attempts by two of the blocs to align against the third.
But regardless of the country-by-country and theater-by-theater dynamics, a report by France24 indicates that Qatar may have chosen poorly:
Three months after a new emir stepped in, Qatar’s political clout has shrunk following the ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president and with Riyadh emerging as the Syrian opposition’s main backer, analysts say… “The collapse of the power of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt triggered the countdown for the end of Qatar’s influence,” said Antoine Basbous, head of the Paris-based Observatory of Arab Countries. “This has negatively impacted the Islamists in Tunisia and militias close to the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya,” he said.
Like Qatar, Turkey aligned itself with the Brotherhood in Egypt, with extremist elements in Syria, and with Hamas in the Israeli-Palestinian arena. And like Qatar, Turkey has seen a percipitous decline in its regional standing.
Both now find themselves boxed out in areas where they were once influential.
In Syria, a combination of resignations and replacements has left Saudi Arabia, according to one Syrian opposition figure, with “the upper hand in the Syrian dossier.” In Egypt, Turkish-Egyptian relations are in tatters and Cairo last week returned to Doha $2 billion that the Qataris had deposited in Egyptian banks.
Hamas, for its part, is weaker than it’s been in years and arguably decades.
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