Mohammed bin Salman
Will Oliver | Pool | Bloomberg | Getty Images
DUBAI – Arab leaders met in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca for a two-day emergency meeting to tackle increasing tensions with Iran.
The Gulf states have even turned to Qatar, the alienated neighbors Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt were cut off two years ago by a land and sea blockade. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has extended his invitation to Qatar and Doha has accepted the first landing of a Qatar jet in Saudi Arabia since June 201
"The fact that the Saudis have contacted the Emir of Qatar indicates that "The tensions with Iran in Riyadh are taken very seriously," said Andrews War, a lecturer at King's College of Security Studies at King's College, told CNBC.
"The kingdom is ready to reach a broader consensus on how to deal with Iran than usual."
But does this mean a breakthrough in relations between Qatar and the Gulf Cooperation Council and a possible end to the blockade? Do not hold your breath, warn regional experts.
"While the invitation to (Qatari Emir) Sheikh Tamim is a positive step towards a potential thaw in the Gulf Rift, it should not be overstated," said Becca Water, a political analyst and regional specialist at Rand Corporation. "Such invitations are symbolic and important, but they do little to solve the underlying factors that led to the rift."
Giorgio Cafiero, founder of the Washington DC-based think tank Gulf State Analytics, left more gaps in the prospect of a warm reunion between the alienated states.
"The discussion on the summits that will lead to a solution to the Gulf crisis is premature," he wrote in an article for the Foreign Affairs website, LobeLog, along with Qatari academic Khalid al-Jaber. " In fact, the Saudis continue to ban Qatar jets from the airspace of the Kingdom, and the Qatari jet, which landed in Jeddah on May 27, was allowed into Saudi airspace only because of the upcoming Mecca peaks "Not because of a general change in Saudi Arabia policy."
While reports describe the Qatari monarchy as warm-hearted, Doha sends his Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and not his head of state, as official relations between the two continue are cool. The economic and political blockade was launched on the grounds that Qatar supports extremism and is in friendly relations with Iran, which the Qatari reject.
A united front against Iran?
But in the sense of a united front against Iran The fact that not all Gulf states were directly attacked by Iran or its representatives "makes the Iranian subversion a difficult collective summit," remarked Wasser. However, she pointed out that attacks on oil tankers "increase buy-in in many states as shipping lanes are essential to their economic health."
War at King's College London agreed. "Iran's irrational securitization in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi is not shared by the smaller Gulf states," said Qatar, Kuwait, and Oman, who often act as mediators in regional crises. "The lowest common denominator they can agree on may be far from a viable policy on Iran, or at least we can expect a common position that urges Iran not to escalate," he added.
The Summit follows several weeks of escalating developments in the Gulf region, notably a mysterious attack on four tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, accused by White House officials of Iran, and drone strikes on the Saudi oil infrastructure run by Iran-backed Houthi rebels of Yemen were claimed.
US National Security Advisor John Bolton arrived in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday to meet with the Gulf allies to develop an approach to respond to President Donald Trump's increased and more serious threats from Tehran. Washington has already announced plans to send 1,500 additional US troops to the region, and last week a $ 8 billion arms sale without Congress' approval to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan enforced experts fear that misjudgment could lead to a more serious confrontation if it is seeking war or regime change. The Iranian officials have denied involvement in the recent attacks and described the allegations as "ridiculous".
However, some analysts believe Bolton is seeking an apology to bolster its already crazy attitude towards Iran. The former diplomat has in the past openly called for a regime change in Iran.
Tehran has announced under pressure from heavy US sanctions to end some of its pledges for the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, which should curtail the country's nuclear program in exchange for financial aid. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who controls the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, recently named a terrorist organization by Trump, has repeatedly praised that his country will not bow to US pressure.