Saudi Dispute with Qatar Has 22-Year History Rooted in Gas

(Bloomberg) Marc Champion - Saudi Arabia's isolation of Qatar has been brewing since 1995, and the dispute's long past and likely lingering future are best explained by natural gas. Qatar's natural gas turned Qatar into not just the world's richest nation, with an annual per-capita income of $130,000, but also the world's largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter. The focus on gas set it apart from its oil producing neighbors in the Gulf Cooperation Council and allowed it to break from domination by Saudi Arabia. Qatar gas wealth enabled it to develop foreign policies that came to irritate its neighbors. It backed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas in the Gaza Strip and armed factions opposed by the UAE or Saudi Arabia in Libya and Syria. Gas also paid for a global television network, Al Jazeera, which at various times has embarrassed or angered most Middle Eastern governments. Above all, gas prompted Qatar to promote a regional policy of engagement with Shiite Iran to secure the source of its wealth.

2017-06-07 00:00:00

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